The N-ICE Trial
In a world first, the N-ICE Trial will study a much needed new approach to treating crystal methamphetamine - or “ice” - dependence.
The N-ICE Trial will establish if N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) can reduce craving for ice and help people stop using ice.
Why NAC for ice addiction?
When someone first takes ice, they experience the seemingly desirable effects from being intoxicated with the drug. Then, as they become addicted, there are changes in the brain that cause cravings and make it hard to stop using it.
NAC targets these brain changes that underpin craving and addiction. It helps restore balance to those brain systems, and in doing this, it helps reduce the craving for ice.
Previous studies have shown that NAC can reduce cravings for various drugs, including ice, cocaine, cannabis and tobacco. This trial will find out whether NAC can help people reduce their use of ice or stop using ice altogether.
We also hope that NAC will help reduce the paranoia and mood changes people experience when they become addicted to ice. Some of these symptoms are related to the toxic effects of ice on the brain, and NAC has been found to protect the brain from this toxicity.
Most importantly, we want to make sure that NAC is safe. NAC has been used safely in various other trials, and is an approved medicine for other purposes. We will be assessing whether it is safe take-home medication for people who use ice.
Where is the N-ICE Trial being conducted?
The N-ICE trial is being conducted in Melbourne, Geelong and Wollongong. See below for further details on our study sites and team.
When is the trial starting?
The N-ICE trial is due to start recruiting participants from February 2018. We expect recruitment will continue until the end of 2019. This may vary depending on the trial site. Please refer to your local trial site for more specific details.
How do I enrol in the trial?
If you are interested in participating in the trial, please contact your local trial site (Melbourne, Geelong, Wollongong). They will provide you will more information and assess whether you are eligible to participate.
What does the trial involve?
The trial will involve taking two capsules of NAC morning and night for 12 weeks. During the trial there will be weekly assessments to monitor drug use and mood. All participants must undergo a comprehensive screening interview and medical assessment prior to receiving NAC. Participants must also agree to attend medical assessments during the trial as requested, and a final medical assessment within one month of completing the trial.
Does it cost anything to participate?
Participation in the trial is free.
What happens at the end of the trial?
At the end of the trial, you must have a final medical assessment. We are unable to provide NAC after the end of the trial. However, we will offer you a referral to other services that are available.
Can I get other treatment while I’m on the trial?
Once you are enrolled in the trial, you are free to access other services and treatments provided that this does not prevent you from taking the trial medication, participating in the trial assessments, or put your health at risk. Your trial doctor will make this decision and stop the medication if he or she sees fit.
What if I have a loved one addicted to ice?
Participation in the trial is completely voluntary and each participant must contact us directly to enrol. We cannot take referrals from family, friends, or other health services.
Who is funding the trial?
The trial is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (Project Grant No. 1128147). This is an independent body that awards research grants on a competitive basis.
The N-ICE team and trial sites
Our team are an internationally recognised team of researchers who have experience trialling treatments for ice and other drugs, and we have conducted several of the largest trials of NAC in the world. Further details about the trial investigators and their institutions are below.
- Dr Olivia Dean, Dr Alyna Turner and Professor Michael Berk , IMPACT Strategic Research Centre, Deakin University and Barwon Health
- Professor Dan Lubman and Dr Victoria Manning, Monash University Eastern Health Clinical School and Turning Point
- Associate Professor Peter Kelly and Ms Dayle Raftery , Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, University of Wollongong and the Illawarra Drug and Alcohol Service (iDAS)
- Professor Paul Dietze and Dr Brendan Quinn, Burnet Institute
- Dr Peter Higgs, La Trobe University
- Professor Gregory Carter and Professor Amanda Baker, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle
- Associate Professor Rebecca McKetin, Dr Nicole Edwards, Ms Nina te Pas and Dr Wenbin Liang, National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University.