Study of a New Use of an Add-On Drug in the Early Phase of Psychosis (NAC Study)

Principal Investigator: Larry Seidman, Ph.D.

Study Overview

We are studying a nutritional supplement called N-Acetyl-Cysteine (or “NAC”) as a novel adjunct in the treatment of symptoms and deficits in early psychosis. NAC works as an anti-oxidant and is thought to potentially increase glutathione, which is important to overall brain function, during a critical period of brain development. Previous research using add-on NAC treatment in individuals with long term psychosis found improvement of symptoms and a reduction of side-effects.

What will happen during the study?

The study involves a 28 week, double-blind trial of add-on NAC or placebo in the treatment of individuals experiencing early psychosis. NAC or placebo will be taken in the form of an effervescent tablet, which is dissolved in water.

  • As a participant, you would be asked to:
  • Sign a consent form indicating your agreement to participate.
  • Participate in about 9-10 study visits every 4 weeks for 28 weeks.
  • Take part in:
    • An initial set of personal interviews
    • Brief interviews every 4 weeks throughout the duration of the study
    • Paper and pencil tests of your attention, thinking and memory
    • Blood tests and a specialized EEG during the screening and last 2 visits.
  • Continue your usual medication treatment by your doctor.

Who can participate?

Individuals between the ages of 18-35 who may have recently been hospitalized for a psychotic disorder, or who are currently experiencing early symptoms of psychosis, including:

  • Ideas or beliefs that others may find unusual or too intense
  • Suspiciousness or uneasiness with others
  • Hallucinations or confused thinking
  • Having trouble thinking clearly, focusing or concentrating

This study takes place at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, East Campus. Individuals who complete all parts of the study will be compensated $315 or more for their participation.

For more information, please contact:

Corin Pilo at (617) 754-1224

or by email at


Chelsea Wakeham at (617) 754-1237

or by email at

To view the brochure click on the link: NAC brochure