N-Acetyl Cysteine Effective for Bipolar Depression (mobile format)

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/744371 Well, dear readers, I have some really good news for us all. I am particularly personally pleased about this, because today I began having those nasty creeping feelings of incipient depression. Having had a nice long remission (thank G-d), with a bit of hypomania to spice things up, I am not looking forward to the down side of the equation. But there is hope on the horizon! Just today this article on the efficacy of n-acetyl cysteine (NAC) flashed across my medical literature radar. I pounced on it like a hungry lioness. As a pediatrician, I’m familiar with NAC from its other uses: intavenously, for protecting the liver after acetaminofen overdose; and inhaled, for liquifying sticky lung secretions in cystic fibrosis. There is a growing fan base among athletes for NAC, as some feel it enhances performance. According to the above linked article, there is now good evidence to support that. NAC assists essential metabolic processes that enhance the function of the body and the mind. As is my previous post about metabolic syndrome in the brain, scientists are finding that the biochemistry of the brain is a lot more similar to that of the body than was previously thought. For instance, we know that inflammation in the body can cause all kinns of ills, so we might take antiinflammatory supplements or, even better, eat an antiinflammatory diet. This article points out that inflammation can also happen in the brain, setting off a cascade of ill effects, including triggering bipolar depression, which is notoriously difficult to treat. This gives us a window to wonder whether perhaps the biochemical/electrophysiological profile of bipolar depression might be different than that of unipolar depression. Bottom line: NAC was forms to be very safe and effective as an ad-on to the meds the patient was talking already. The dose in the study is 2000 mg, once a day. I have seen other dosing schedules that also worked, in some very promising studies on using NAC in autistic children to reduce distressing behaviors instead of using antipsychotics. The biggest challenge right now seems to be getting hold of the stuff, since it is so popular with the athletes, who no doubt feel like a million bucks. I’m definitely going to try this one. I sure hope it saves me from another round of rTMS. The old brain is not sure she can take that kind of pounding any time soon. If you decide to try NAC, I’d really appreciate it if you world keep in touch and let me know how it goes.

Copyright 2012 Laura P. Schulman all rights reserved