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Clinical Trial Summary

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is an inherited retinal disease with great heterogeneity. RP comprises a large group of genetic disorders causing progressive loss of vision. Despite many suggested treatments, there is actually no effective therapy for most types of RP at present. Mutations that cause RP initially lead to rod cell death. After rod photoreceptors' death, cone photoreceptors also gradually die. There are several hypotheses as to why mutation-induced rod photoreceptor cell death invariably leads to gradual dysfunction and death of cone photoreceptors resulting in severe visual acuity loss and blindness. Rods constitute 95 percent of cells in the outer retina. As they degenerate, oxygen consumption is reduced and the level of tissue oxygen markedly increases. After rods degeneration, several markers of oxidative damage appear in cones. This oxidative stress over time may lead to cone dysfunction and death. Antioxidants reduce markers of oxidative damage and promote cone function and survival. In RP, cone death occurs as a result of the death of rods, rather than as the result of the pathogenic mutations and therefore treatment with antioxidants may have the potential to be applied to all patients with RP irrespective of the disease-causing mutation. N-acetylcysteine is a derivative of L cysteine that plays a role in the biosynthesis of glutathione and neutralizes reactive oxygen species. It also has a direct antioxidant activity via its reactive sulfhydryl agent. Its systemic use shows an acceptable safety profile. It has been shown that the use of systemic N-acetylcysteine provides significant intraocular concentration and antioxidant activity that may lead to the promotion of cone function and survival. In a recent phase 1 randomized clinical trial (RCT), it was revealed that oral N-acetylcysteine (NAC) was safe and well-tolerated in patients with moderately advanced RP and might improve sub-optimally functioning macular cones. The authors concluded that a randomized, placebo-controlled trial is needed to determine if oral NAC can provide long-term stabilization and/or improvement in visual function in patients with RP. In this phase 2 RCT, eligible patients with the diagnosis of moderately advanced RP are randomly divided into two groups; treatment group (N-acetylcysteine tablets) and controls (placebo). Each group will be treated for 6 months. In this study, we will investigate if the use of oral N- acetylcysteine as a potent antioxidant agent can slow down or reverse the disease process in RP patients with prior moderate loss of vision. It may potentially demonstrate a treatment modality regardless of the genetic type of RP. The primary outcome measure will be the stability or improvement of the best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA). The secondary outcome measures will be changes in color vision, electroretinogram, visual field, structural OCT indices after 6 months. The same parameters will be re-evaluated 3 months after discontinuation of treatment at month 9.

Clinical Trial Description


Study Design

Related Conditions & MeSH terms

NCT number NCT04864496
Study type Interventional
Source Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences
Status Active, not recruiting
Phase Phase 2
Start date April 17, 2021
Completion date December 20, 2022

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