A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of inositol in trichotillomania

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Trichotillomania is characterized by repetitive pulling that causes noticeable hair loss. Data on the pharmacological treatment of trichotillomania are limited, with no clear first-line agent. The aim of the current study was to determine the efficacy and tolerability of inositol in adults with trichotillomania. A total of 38 individuals (35 women; mean age: 28.9±11.4) with trichotillomania entered a 10-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of inositol (dosing ranging from 6 to 18 g/day). Patients were assessed using the Massachusetts General Hospital Hair Pulling Scale, the NIMH Trichotillomania Severity Scale, Clinical Global Impression Scale, and measures of depression, anxiety, and psychosocial functioning. Outcomes were examined using a linear mixed-effects model. Patients assigned to inositol failed to show significantly greater reductions on primary or secondary outcomes measures compared with placebo (all P>0.05). At study endpoint, 42.1% of patients were ‘much or very much improved’ on inositol compared with 35.3% on placebo. This is the first study assessing the efficacy of inositol in the treatment of trichotillomania, but found no differences in symptom reductions between inositol and placebo. Future studies should examine whether inositol may be beneficial in controlling pulling behavior in a subgroup of individuals with trichotillomania.

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