N-Acetylcysteine for Patients With COPD and Chronic Bronchitis (NAC)

This study has been terminated.
(A recent scientific report demonstrated that NAC accelerated growth of experimentally induced lung cancers in mice given high doses of NAC.)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
HealthPartners Institute
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
First received: July 11, 2012
Last updated: July 1, 2014
Last verified: July 2014
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is described as having mucolytic and antioxidant properties. It is widely prescribed for patients with chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD), particularly for those who have accompanying symptoms of chronic cough and sputum production. Compared to placebo, high-dose NAC will improve Saint George Respiratory Questionnaire scores in patients with COPD and chronic bronchitis.

Condition Intervention
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Chronic Bronchitis
Drug: N-acetylcysteine
Drug: Identical placebo pills twice daily for 8 weeks

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Effects of High-Dose N-Acetylcysteine on Respiratory Health Status in Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Chronic Bronchitis: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial-2

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by HealthPartners Institute:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Changes in the Saint George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) [ Time Frame: baseline and 8 weeks ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Enrollment: 13
Study Start Date: July 2012
Study Completion Date: May 2014
Primary Completion Date: May 2014 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Active Comparator: N-ACETYLCYSTEINE
1800 mg (milligrams) TWICE DAILY FOR 8 WEEKS
Drug: N-acetylcysteine
1800 mg twice daily for 8 weeks
Placebo Comparator: SUGAR PILL
Identical placebo pills twice daily for 8 weeks
Drug: Identical placebo pills twice daily for 8 weeks
Placebo pills manufactured to mimic appearance of intervention drug n-acetylcysteine and prescribed with identical frequency and duration.
Other Name: Sugar pill


Ages Eligible for Study:   40 Years to 85 Years
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Capability to provide written informed consent
  • Age ≥ 40 years and ≤ 85 years
  • FEV1/FVC ratio (forced expiratory volume at 1 second/forced vital capacity) (post bronchodilator) < 70%
  • FEV1 (post bronchodilator) < 65%
  • Presence of chronic cough and sputum production defined as the following:
  • Presence of chronic cough and sputum will be defined by responses to the first two questions on the SGRQ. Subjects who respond positively to both question 1 (cough) and question 2 (sputum) on the SGRQ as either "several days per week" or "almost every day" will be eligible
  • Current or former smoker with lifetime cigarette consumption of at least 10 pack-years
  • Negative serum pregnancy test at the baseline visit if patient is a pre-menopausal female (menopause defined as absence of a menstrual cycle in the last 12 months)
  • Must be fluent in speaking the English language

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Not fully recovered for at least 30 days from a COPD exacerbation characterized by typical symptoms and treated with antibiotics or prednisone
  • Known allergy or sensitivity to NAC or albuterol
  • Any patient with unstable cardiac disease
  • Any patient with a documented history of uncompensated congestive heart failure in the last 2 years
  • Clinical diagnosis of asthma, bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis, or severe alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
  • Active lung cancer or history of lung cancer if it has been less than 2 years since lung resection or other treatment. If history of lung cancer, must have no evidence of recurrence in the 2 years preceding the baseline visit.
  • Undergoing active treatment for malignancy except for hormonal therapy (i.e. prostate cancer, breast cancer) or non-metastatic skin cancer and are not symptomatic
  • Chronic kidney disease with an estimated GFR (glomerular filtration rate) of < 30 ml/min. GFR will be estimated using the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) formula
  • History of cirrhosis with evidence of portal hypertension (ascites, chronic edema)
  • Participation in a pulmonary rehabilitation program or completion within past 6 weeks
  • Prisoners or institutionalized patients
  • Participation in another study involving an investigational product within 30 days of the baseline visit
  • Pregnant or breast-feeding patients.
  • Use of guaifenesin in the last 30 days
  • Currently on long acting nitrates for angina or heart failure
  • Abnormalities in screening blood work defined as:
  • WBC (white blood cell count) < 3.0 or > 15.0 K/cmm
  • Hemoglobin < 9.0 or > 17.0 gm/dl
  • Platelets < 75 or > 400 K/cmm
  • ALT (Alanine transaminase enzyme) > 3 times the upper limit of normal
  • INR (international normalized ratio) > 1.5 unless on warfarin therapy
  • Any concomitant condition that might endanger the patient through participation in the study or interfere with study procedures, as assessed by the investigator
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01639963

United States, Minnesota
HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research
Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States, 55130
Sponsors and Collaborators
HealthPartners Institute
Principal Investigator: Charlene E McEvoy, MD, MPH HealthPartners Institute
  More Information

No publications provided

Responsible Party: HealthPartners Institute
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01639963     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 12-098  12-098 
Study First Received: July 11, 2012
Last Updated: July 1, 2014
Health Authority: United States: Institutional Review Board

Keywords provided by HealthPartners Institute:
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Chronic Bronchitis

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Bronchitis, Chronic
Lung Diseases
Lung Diseases, Obstructive
Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive
Bronchial Diseases
Respiratory Tract Diseases
Respiratory Tract Infections
Anti-Infective Agents
Antiviral Agents
Free Radical Scavengers
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Pharmacologic Actions
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Protective Agents
Respiratory System Agents
Therapeutic Uses

ClinicalTrials.gov processed this record on February 07, 2016