In Brief: Supplement may ease compulsive hair pulling

In Brief

Supplement may ease compulsive hair pulling

Published: October, 2009

Trichotillomania, a disorder that causes compulsive hair pulling, is not easy to treat. Cognitive behavioral therapy is effective, but symptoms tend to recur after therapy ends. And no medication has proven effective in controlled trials.

Now a small randomized controlled study has concluded that N-acetylcysteine, an amino acid found in health food stores, was significantly more effective than placebo. In double-blind fashion, investigators randomized 50 people, ages 18 to 65, to 12 weeks of treatment with the amino acid or a placebo.

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