Talking Point: N-acetylcysteine (NAC) for methamphetamine dependence: A randomised controlled trial


Currently there are no approved pharmacotherapies for methamphetamine dependence.

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) has been found to reduce craving for methamphetamine use and other drugs. This effect is thought to be due to NAC’s ability to restore homeostasis to glutamate systems that are disrupted in addiction. This presentation will discuss the results of a recently completed randomised controlled trial of NAC for methamphetamine dependence. Participants (N = 153) received either NAC (2,400 mg/day) or equivalent placebo for 12 weeks. Results will include the effect of NAC on methamphetamine use, craving, severity of dependence, withdrawal and psychiatric symptoms.

About the presenter

Associate Professor Rebecca McKetin(BSc(Psychol)Hons. PhD) leads a program of research into stimulant use epidemiology and interventions at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW. Her current research involves the online delivery of psychological help for people who use stimulants (, the trialling of new pharmacotherapy options for methamphetamine dependence ( and the development of novel responses to methamphetamine use in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities ( Rebecca established the first longitudinal treatment outcomes study for methamphetamine use internationally (the Methamphetamine Treatment Outcomes Study, MATES), a 3-year prospective cohort of 501 people dependent on methamphetamine, demonstrating the impact of community-based treatments for this drug. She has adapted in-direct prevalence estimation methods to estimate the number of dependent methamphetamine users in Australia and has been involved in the development of regional systems to monitor methamphetamine and other drugs in the Asia Pacific. Her work has been pivotal in quantifying the risk of psychosis, violence and other mental health outcomes related to the use of methamphetamine. She is a Senior Editor for Addiction, a consultant to the United Nations, and a member of the Australian Institute of Policy and Science.