Last updated on August 2020

The Effect of NAC on Lung Function and CT Mucus Score


Brief description of study

This study evaluates 20% n-acetylcysteine (NAC) in the treatment of moderate-to-severe asthma that is complicated by mucus in the airway, as determined by CT imaging. The study is a crossover design, which means that half the study participants will get 20% NAC in the first 14-day treatment period and placebo in the next 14-day treatment period; and the other half will get placebo in the first 14-day treatment period and 20% NAC in the next 14-day treatment period.

Detailed Study Description

N-acetylcystine (NAC) is a mucolytic medication, meaning that it breaks apart mucus. Investigators know that mucus is a factor in severe asthma attacks. However, mucus may be a factor in chronic severe asthma as well. This role has been hard to prove because of difficulty in showing that mucus occludes the lumen in chronic severe disease. Using a novel approach of scoring mucus occlusion, investigators have used CT imaging to uncover that a majority of people with severe asthma have at least one lung segment with a mucus plug and 27% have more than four lung segments with mucus plugs.

Historically, studies of mucolytics, like NAC, have not shown benefit in other obstructive lung diseases, like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). However, utilizing CT mucus scores as a biomarker, investigators believe that mucolytic treatment may prove useful for those with significant mucus impaction.

This is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 4 study of 20% NAC in patients with asthma who also have evidence of mucus in their lungs as determined by CT imaging. Investigators hypothesize that by treating asthmatics, chosen based on the presence of mucus in the airways, with a mucolytic like NAC, will result in an improvement of lung function.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03822637

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UCSF Airway Clinical Research Center

San Francisco, CA United States
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Recruitment Status: Open


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