N-Acetylcysteine for Youth Cannabis Use Disorder

  • STATUS
    Recruiting
  • End date
    Feb 28, 2024
  • participants needed
    192
  • sponsor
    Medical University of South Carolina
Updated on 8 August 2022

Summary

This is a 12-week randomized, placebo-controlled trial of N-acetylcysteine for cannabis use disorder (CUD) in youth (N=192). Participants will be randomized to double-blind NAC or PBO, yielding two equally-allocated treatment groups. All participants will receive brief weekly cannabis cessation counseling and medication management. The primary efficacy outcome will be the proportion of negative urine cannabinoid tests during the 12-week active treatment, compared between groups.

Description

Cannabis use is particularly prevalent and problematic among youth. Compared with only one in eleven cannabis-exposed adults, one in six cannabis-exposed youth develops cannabis use disorder. Moreover, youth are more prone than adults to potentially lasting adverse effects of cannabis use, including cognitive impairment, altered brain development, poor educational outcome, and diminished life achievement. Despite this, relatively little work has focused on developing optimally efficacious cannabis use disorder treatments, particularly among youth. Current evidence-based treatments convey generally small to modest effect sizes, and novel approaches are critically needed. Among the most promising approaches is the over-the-counter antioxidant medication N-acetylcysteine (NAC). Our team previously demonstrated superior NAC versus placebo (PBO) abstinence outcomes in youth with CUD who concurrently received the behavioral treatment contingency management (CM). Further work is now needed to test whether NAC is efficacious without a platform of CM. The proposed trial is a 12-week randomized, placebo-controlled trial of N-acetylcysteine for cannabis use disorder (CUD) in youth (N=192). Participants will be randomized to double-blind NAC or PBO, yielding two equally-allocated treatment groups. All participants will receive brief weekly cannabis cessation counseling and medication management. The primary efficacy outcome will be the proportion of negative urine cannabinoid tests during the 12-week active treatment, compared between groups. We will also serially assess cognitive task performance, examining changes in performance among participants who achieve abstinence versus those that do not. This proposed trial is the clear "next step" in the assessment of NAC as an extremely promising youth CUD treatment modality, and is positioned to inform researchers, clinicians, and the general public, addressing a critical need for optimization of youth CUD treatment.

Details
Condition Cannabis Use Disorder
Treatment N-Acetyl Cysteine, Placebo oral capsule
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03055377
SponsorMedical University of South Carolina
Last Modified on8 August 2022

Eligibility

Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Age 14 - 21 years
Must be able to understand the study and provide written informed consent (for participants under 18 years old, a parent/legal guardian must be able to provide consent and the participant must be able to provide assent)
Must meet current (within last 30 days) DSM-5 criteria for cannabis use disorder
Must express interest in treatment for cannabis use disorder
Must submit a positive urine cannabinoid test during screening
Females must agree to use appropriate birth control methods during study participation: oral contraceptives, contraceptive patch, barrier (diaphragm or condom), levonorgestrel implant, medroxyprogesterone acetate, complete abstinence from sexual intercourse, or hormonal contraceptive vaginal ring

Exclusion Criteria

Allergy or intolerance to N-acetylcysteine
Females who are pregnant or lactating
Current use of N-acetylcysteine or any supplement containing N-acetylcysteine (must agree not to take any such supplement throughout study participation)
Use of carbamazepine or nitroglycerin within 14 days of randomization or expectation of future use during protocol participation
Current enrollment in treatment for cannabis use disorder or expectation of other treatment during protocol participation
Any use of synthetic cannabinoids (such as K2/Spice) in the 30 days prior to screening or expectation of future use during protocol participation
Current moderate or severe substance use disorder, other than cannabis, tobacco, or alcohol
Medical history of severe asthma (uncontrolled with medications)
History of seizure disorder
Any other medical or psychiatric condition or other significant concern that in the Investigator's opinion would impact participant safety or compliance with study instructions, or potentially confound the interpretation of findings
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