A potential role for N-acetylcysteine in the management of methamphetamine dependence

Rebecca McKetin, Olivia M Dean, Amanda L. Baker, Greg Carter, Alyna Turner, Peter J. Kelly, Michael Berk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Methamphetamine dependence is a growing problem in Australia and globally. Currently, there are no approved pharmacotherapy options for the management of methamphetamine dependence. N-acetylcysteine is one potential pharmacotherapy option. It has received growing attention as a therapy for managing addictions because of its capacity to restore homeostasis to brain glutamate systems disrupted in addiction and thereby reduce craving and the risk of relapse. N-acetylcysteine also has antioxidant properties that protect against methamphetamine-induced toxicity and it may therefore assist in the management of the neuropsychiatric and neurocognitive effects of methamphetamine. This commentary overviews the actions of N-acetylcysteine and evidence for its efficacy in treating addiction with a particular focus on its potential utility for methamphetamine dependence. We conclude that the preliminary evidence indicates a need for full-scale trials to definitively establish whether N-acetylcysteine has a therapeutic benefit and the nature of this benefit, for managing methamphetamine dependence. [McKetin R, Dean O, Baker A. L, Carter G, Turner A, Kelly P. J, Berk M. A potential role for N-acetylcysteine in the management of methamphetamine dependence. Drug Alcohol Rev 2017;36:153–159].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-159
Number of pages7
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • drug therapy
  • methamphetamine
  • N-acetylcysteine
  • pharmacotherapy
  • treatment

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