N-acetylcysteine is useful in treating
skin picking disorder, suggests a study published in the Journal of the
American Academy of Dermatology.
Skin picking disorder (SPD) is also
called the Excoriation disorder. It is characterized by repetitive skin
manipulation causing visible tissue damage and impairment in social
Individuals may pick at healthy skin,
minor skin irregularities (e.g., pimples or calluses), lesions, or scabs. This condition
is generally chronic in nature, occurring in time intervals, with periods of
remission alternating with periods of greater symptom intensity. It is common
for individuals with this disorder to spend significant amounts of time,
sometimes even several hours a day, on this behavior.
None of the current treatment modalities
provide a 100% cure rate. However, many studies have given evidence that bolsters
the use of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) for skin picking disorder. While the greatest
level of proof comes from a randomized control trial (RCT) with psychiatric
endpoints evaluated by psychiatrists.
A study was conducted by a group of
researchers U.S.A researchers, to reinstate the effectiveness of N-acetylcysteine
for skin picking disorder.
The researchers carried out a single-center,
retrospective cohort study. They selected a total of 28 patients with various diagnoses
like, skin picking, acne excoriée, or neurodermatitis, which were treated with
However, out of the total 28 patients,
only 13 patients completed an adequate trial, defined as a minimum dose of 600
mg twice daily for 3 consecutive months.
The results of the study are as follows:
Ø 61.5% of the total 13 patients
demonstrated improvement on physical exam.
While the most common side effect was gastrointestinal upset reported in 7.1% of the total 13 participants.
Ø The discontinuation rate before
completion of an adequate trial was 53.6%, with 40% of patients discounting
treatment due to a lack of response.
Thus, the researchers concluded that N-acetylcysteine
delivers promising results in the treatment of skin picking disorder when
treatment is continued for at least 3 months.
A study titled, “Evidence for
N-Acetylcysteine Efficacy for Skin Picking Disorder” by published in the Journal
of the American Academy of Dermatology