A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of N-acetylcysteine plus imaginal desensitization for nicotine-dependent pathological gamblers

Jon E. Grant, Brian L. Odlaug, Samuel R. Chamberlain, Marc N. Potenza, Liana R.N. Schreiber, Christopher B Donahue, Suck W Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Pathological gambling is associated with elevated proportions of nicotine dependence, and tobacco smoking in pathological gamblers has been associated with increased problem-gambling severity. This study examined the addition of N-acetylcysteine to imaginal desensitization in adults with co-occurring nicotine dependence and pathological gambling. Method: Twenty-eight individuals with cooccurring DSM-IV nicotine dependence and pathological gambling who were receiving behavioral therapy were recruited from December 2009 to February 2012 and randomized to augmentation with N-acetylcysteine or placebo in an 12-week, double-blind trial. Subjects were assessed with measures of nicotine and gambling severity and followed for 3 months after treatment. The primary outcomes were the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence and the pathological gambling adaptation of the Yale- Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale. Results: During the first 6 weeks, there was a significant benefit of N-acetylcysteine treatment versus placebo on Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence total scores (t = -2.224; P = .031). After the initial 6 weeks, all subjects significantly (P < .001) benefited from imaginal desensitization. During the 3-month follow-up, there was a significant additional benefit for N-acetylcysteine versus placebo on measures of problem-gambling severity (t = 2.069; P = .043). Conclusions: N-acetylcysteine treatment during therapy facilitates long-term application of behavioral therapy techniques once patients are in the community after therapy has been completed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-45
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychiatry
Volume75
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2014

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