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AIDS Treatment News
NAC Users: You Can Help NAC Research
John S. James
July 7, 1995
AIDS TREATMENT NEWS #226, July 7, 1995

If you have used NAC (N-acetylcysteine) for at least three months, you could help a scientific study at Stanford University by completing the survey below. This survey is to tell the researchers why you are using the treatment -- and what effects you have seen, good or bad.

NAC has long been one of the most popular treatments sold in buyers' clubs; it is also sold in health-food stores. The Stanford study, which started over a year ago, has given NAC or placebo to about 60 volunteers (mostly recruited in San Francisco), in a double-blind trial (meaning that neither the volunteers, nor their doctors, nor the researchers themselves, know who is getting the real drug and who is getting the placebo).

Now the researchers are about to break the blind (learn who got the real drug) and analyze the study statistically. But first, they must formulate all the questions they want to ask of the data; for scientific reasons, it is important that they do this before they break the blind. The survey below is to give them ideas of any questions they should be asking, but may have overlooked; this survey by itself is not intended to be scientific or statistically valid by itself, but to help formulate questions for the analysis of the clinical trial, to make the trial itself as useful as possible.

The researchers are especially interested in any changes in energy, in sexuality, or in neurological symptoms -- or any other observations which they may have not thought about, but which might have changed when you started the treatment.

We encourage you to copy this article so that friends who have taken NAC can also participate.

The Survey For persons who have taken NAC for a total of three months or longer, please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper, and send your reply to the address below. Please answer each question separately, using the question number so that the researchers know for sure which response is to which question.

(1) Approximately how long have you taken NAC? (If you have discontinued, or stopped and started again, let us know.) (2) What is your usual single dose? How many times a day do you take this dose? (3) What brand of NAC do you use? (4) What benefits do you think you may have had from NAC? Please classify each possible benefit as "pretty sure" if you are pretty sure it is due to NAC, or "probably" if you think that it is probably due to NAC.

(5) Have you had any serious side effects which may be due to NAC? You can also answer the following questions if you wish: (6) How long have you known you were HIV positive? (7) What were your last CD4 (T-helper) and CD8 counts when you started taking NAC? Also, what were your most recent CD4 and CD8 counts? And how long ago were they measured? (8) Have you had AIDS-defining opportunistic infections? If so, which ones, and when were they diagnosed? (9) If you are no longer taking NAC, why did you discontinue it? Also, have you had any AIDS-defining opportunistic infections since you stopped taking NAC? If so, when? (10) Please add any additional comments you wish to make. (11) Optional: If you would be willing to answer any further questions the researchers may have, or if you wish to receive a summary of the survey responses, include your name and address. (On the other hand, you may reply anonymously if you wish.) Please send your answers to: Stanford NAC Project, c/o Davies Medical Center, Castro and Duboce Streets, San Francisco, CA 94114.

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