Assessment of N-Acetylcysteine as Therapy for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (NAC ME/CFS)

  • End date
    Apr 30, 2025
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Weill Medical College of Cornell University
Updated on 8 July 2022


Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS) is an unexplained multisymptom/multisystem disorder for which there are currently no validated treatments. The present exploratory clinical trial aims to advance our understand of the mechanisms of in situ GSH synthesis control through assessment of the response of brain GSH and plasma markers of oxidative stress to different doses of NAC in comparison to placebo, as a potential treatment for ME/CFS that would provide neuroprotection against oxidative stress by restoring cortical GSH reserves. If successful, this exploratory clinical trial would address a significant public health concern by shedding new light onto the mechanisms of action of NAC in brain GSH restoration, which could open a new avenue for the development of potentially effective treatments for a disorder, ME/CFS, that currently has none.


This phase two, single-site study will utilize a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, pre-/post-treatment design to investigate the effect of NAC dosing on brain GSH levels and measure temporally concordant plasma levels of several established circulating markers of oxidative stress. Three study groups, of 20 subjects each (for a total of 60 who completed all components of the study), will each be administered a different dose (0 mg/day, 900mg/day, 3600mg/day) of the study intervention over a four week period; N-acetylcysteine (NAC) treatment. Subjects receiving 0 mg/day dose will be administered a placebo. Baseline visit assessments will include blood collection, survey questionnaires, MRI and MRS imaging. Subjects whose initial screening confirms low GSH level at baseline will be provided with a 4-week supplement of anonymized NAC or placebo caplets. After 4 weeks, subjects will then undergo a follow-up visit to repeat the baseline assessments.

Condition Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
Treatment NAC 900mg/day, NAC 3600mg/day, NAC 0mg/day (Placebo)
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04542161
SponsorWeill Medical College of Cornell University
Last Modified on8 July 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Males or females, ages 21 to 60 years (inclusive)
Baseline GSH levels at or less than a predefined cutoff value
Primary diagnosis of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)
Willing and capable of providing informed consent

Exclusion Criteria

Significant and/or comorbid axis I (especially mood and anxiety) and axis II disorders
Any significant neurological illness or impairment
Other unstable medical conditions (asthma, hypertension, endocrine or metabolic disease, etc)
History alcohol abuse
Positive urine toxicology at screening and on days of assessments
Positive pregnancy test at screening or on days of assessments
Contra-indication for clinical MRI scan (e.g., pacemaker, metallic prosthesis)
Baseline GSH levels higher than a predefined cutoff value
Clear my responses

How to participate?

Step 1 Connect with a study center
What happens next?
  • You can expect the study team to contact you via email or phone in the next few days.
  • Sign up as volunteer to help accelerate the development of new treatments and to get notified about similar trials.

You are contacting

Investigator Avatar

Primary Contact



Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

Learn more

If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

Learn more

Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

Learn more

Similar trials to consider


Browse trials for

Not finding what you're looking for?

Every year hundreds of thousands of volunteers step forward to participate in research. Sign up as a volunteer and receive email notifications when clinical trials are posted in the medical category of interest to you.

Sign up as volunteer

user name

Added by • 



Reply by • Private

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur, adipisicing elit. Ipsa vel nobis alias. Quae eveniet velit voluptate quo doloribus maxime et dicta in sequi, corporis quod. Ea, dolor eius? Dolore, vel!

  The passcode will expire in None.

No annotations made yet

Add a private note
  • abc Select a piece of text from the left.
  • Add notes visible only to you.
  • Send it to people through a passcode protected link.
Add a private note