Background: Methamphetamine dependence is a growing global problem. Currently, there are no approved pharmacotherapy options for the management of methamphetamine dependence. One of the alternatives to manage this addiction is the use of N acetylcysteine (NAC) due to its capacity to restore homeostasis in the brain glutamate systems disrupted in addiction and its ability to reduce craving and the risk of relapse.
Methods: Methamphetamine-dependentvolunteersundermethadonetreatment(n= 38) wererandomizedtoreceivedailydosesof 1200 mg of NAC, or placebo. The participants were followed for 12 weeks (two visits weekly). Craving and Beck Inventory Depression (BDI) was determined at the beginning of the study and also after one month, two months, and three months. Addiction severity index (ASI) was recorded at the beginning of the study and after three months. The data were analyzed via SPSS version 16.0 (SPSS Inc. Chicago, Illinios, USA)
Results: The mean score of craving and BDI reduced after two months with NAC treatment. ASI (e.g., substance, familial, and psy- chiatric categories) was significantly reduced at the end of the study in the NAC group compared to placebo (P < 0.001). The success of the treatment in groups of NAC and placebo were 84% and 73%, respectively (P = 0.001). 63.2% of the NAC group patients avoided substance use for more than a month, but this was 10.5% in the placebo group (P = 0.001).
Conclusions: The NAC showed good efficacy in suppressing methamphetamine craving, addiction severity index, and depression. It may be a useful pharmacological treatment for methamphetamine dependency.
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