N-acetylcysteine (NAC) for Children With Tourette Syndrome
Tourette syndrome is a childhood-onset neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by multiple motor and vocal tics that last for at least a year in duration. Currently, there exist several effective pharmacological treatments for childhood tics including alpha-2 agonist medications (guanfacine and clonidine) and neuroleptics (antipsychotic) medications. These medications, however, have significant side-effects and are only partially efficacy in treating tics.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a natural supplement that acts as an antioxidant and glutamate modulating agent. NAC has been used safely for decades in doses 20-40 times higher than in this trial as an antidote for acetaminophen overdose. The only side-effect commonly seen with NAC is nausea and this side-effect is seldom seen in the doses used in this trial.
NAC has recently been demonstrated to be effective in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in adults with trichotillomania (chronic hair pulling). Hairpulling is hypothesized to be closely related to tics because these conditions (1) have similar clinical characteristics -- both groups typically experience urges before engaging in pulling or tics, (2) neuroimaging studies suggest they involve similar brain circuits -- the basal ganglia, (3) the same pharmacological treatments (neuroleptics) may be effective for both conditions and (4) they tend to be inherited together in families. In other trials NAC has evidence of some efficacy in treating diverse psychiatric conditions such as bipolar depression, schizophrenia and cocaine dependence.
The investigators are conducting this trial to determine if NAC is an effective treatment for tics.
Drug: N-Acetylcysteine (NAC)
|Study Design:||Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
|Official Title:||Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) for the Treatment of Children With Tourette Syndrome|
- Improvement in Tic Severity [ Time Frame: 12 weeks ]
Yale Global Tic Severity Scale is a standard psychiatric measure that rates tics from 0 (no tics) to 100 (most severe tics).
It separately rates motor tics and vocal tics in 5 subscales (number, frequency, intensity, complexity and interference) where the maximum severity score for motor tics is 25 and for vocal tics is 25. Giving us the Total Tic Severity Score maximum of 50.
The additional Impairment Scale rates the degree of disability caused by the tics ranging from 0 (none) to 50 (severe). When these two scores are added we get the Yale Global Tic Severity Scale Score.
- Improvement of Premonitory Urges [ Time Frame: 12 weeks ]Premonitory Urge for Tics Scale (PUTS). Items are rated on a scale of 1-4 from "least" to "most." A total score is calculated by summing the scores of all items. Nine is the minimum possible score. A score of 12.5-24.5 indicates medium intensity of premonitory urges for tics. A score of 25-30.5 indicates high intensity which may be associated with marked impairment. Scores 31 and above indicate extremely high intensity with probable severe impairment. A score of 36 is the maximum score possible.
- Improvement in OCD Severity [ Time Frame: 12 weeks ]Childrens' Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (CY-BOCS). 10-item scale. Each item is rated from 0-4. A sum total is calculated by adding items 1-10. 0-7: Subclinical. 8-15: Mild. 16-23: Moderate. 24-31: Severe. 32-40: Extreme.
- Overall Improvement [ Time Frame: 12 weeks ]Clinical Global Impression - Improvement Scale (CGI-I). The CGI is a 7-point scare that requires the clinician to assess how much the patient's illness has improved or worsened relative to a baseline state at the beginning of the intervention. 1 = Very much improved; 2 = Much improved; 3 = Minimally improved; 4 = No change; 5 = Minimally worse; 6 = Much worse; 7 = Very much worse.
- Number of Participants With Adverse Effects [ Time Frame: 12 weeks ]Number of participants with adverse events according to the Pediatric Adverse Events Rating Scale
|Study Start Date:||July 2010|
|Study Completion Date:||January 2014|
|Primary Completion Date:||January 2014 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)|
NAC was titrated up to a maximum dose of 2400 mg over the course of 2 weeks. Subjects were assigned 600 mg twice a day for weeks 1-2, and then were assigned 1200 mg twice a day for the remainder of the 12 week study.
Drug: N-Acetylcysteine (NAC)
1 600mg capsule twice a day for 2 weeks and then 2 600mg capsules twice a day for the remaining 10 weeks of the trial.
Placebo Comparator: Placebo
Placebo: Subjects were assigned to take two capsules twice a day for weeks 1-2, and then were assigned 4 capsules twice a day for the remainder of the 12 week study.
1 600mg Capsule twice a day for two weeks then 2 600mg capsules twice a day for the remaining 10 weeks of the study. Children receiving placebo will be offered the active intervention after the double-blind portion of the trial.
Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01172288
|United States, Connecticut|
|Yale Child Study Center|
|New Haven, Connecticut, United States, 06520|
|Principal Investigator:||Michael H. Bloch, MD, MS||Yale University|