Objective:Oxidative imbalance has emerged as a treatment target in bipolar disorder. As very limited data are available on the clinical use of antioxidants for mania, we report here results from a post hoc and exploratory subgroup analysis of a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC).Methods:This was a placebo-controlled, randomized, clinical trial assessing the effect of NAC over 24 weeks in mania or hypomania. Symptomatic and functional outcomes were collected over the study period.Results:Fifteen participants were available for this report; two participants in each group failed to complete all assessments. Within-group analyses pointed to an improvement in the NAC group on manic symptoms and worsening in the placebo group on depressive symptoms at endpoint.Conclusions:Although the sample size was small, these results indicated within-group efficacy for this glutathione precursor as compared to placebo. Future trials specifically designed to demonstrate the efficacy of NAC in mania are needed.
May I remind the audience that n-actetylcysteine is cheap, and available OTC. Also, it isn’t really an antioxidant, as this report states, but a glutathione precursor. NAC just gives the cells an extra dose of what an amino acid, cysteine, that is the rate-limiting ingredient in glutathione production.
NAC appears a safe and effective augmentation strategy for depressive symptoms in bipolar disorder.