Safety and tolerability of N-acetylcysteine in cocaine-dependent individuals

Am J Addict. 2006 Jan-Feb;15(1):105-10. doi: 10.1080/10550490500419169.


A double-blind placebo-controlled crossover Phase I trial was conducted to assess the safety and tolerability of N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) in healthy, cocaine-dependent humans. Thirteen participants attended a three-day hospitalization in which they received placebo or NAC. Subjects were crossed over to receive the opposite medication condition during a second three-day hospitalization, which occurred the following week. Across placebo and NAC conditions, only mild side effects were noted, and the number of subjects reporting side effects did not differ. There were trends for a greater reduction in withdrawal symptoms and craving within the NAC condition. These preliminary results suggest that NAC is well tolerated in healthy, cocaine-dependent individuals and may reduce cocaine-related withdrawal symptoms and craving.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcysteine / adverse effects*
  • Acetylcysteine / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Cocaine / adverse effects*
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Crack Cocaine / adverse effects*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurologic Examination / drug effects
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Centers
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / drug therapy*


  • Crack Cocaine
  • Cocaine
  • Acetylcysteine