Adolescents diagnosed with marijuana dependence were more than twice as likely to remain abstinent when they received N-acetylcysteine (NAC) versus placebo in addition to counseling, researchers said.
In an 8-week trial, about 44% of adolescents assigned to take 1,200 mg of NAC twice daily had negative urine test results for cannabinoids at the end of treatment, compared with 32% of those taking placebo, according to Kevin M. Gray, MD, of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C., and colleagues.
After adjusting for years of cannabis use, baseline urine test results, and major depressive disorder, the odds ratio for negative urine tests during the study period was 2.35 (95% CI 1.05 to 5.24, P=0.029), the researchers reported online in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
The effect did not appear to be durable, though. Four weeks after the end of treatment, only 19% of the NAC group and 10% of those assigned to placebo still had negative urine test results.