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    What is Acetylcysteine?

    Acetylcysteine is used for Mucus thinning, Acute cough due to viscous mucus, Paracetamol overdose, Prevention of radiocontrast-induced nephropathy and other conditions. This salt may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide. Detailed information related to Acetylcysteine's uses, side-effects, reviews, questions, interactions, and precautions is as follows:

    Acetylcysteine Uses

    Acetylcysteine is used for the treatment, control, prevention, & improvement of the following diseases, conditions and symptoms:
    References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
    Learn more: Uses

    Acetylcysteine Working, Mechanism of Action and Pharmacology

    Acetylcysteine improves the patient's condition by performing the following functions:
    References: 1

    Acetylcysteine - Side-effects

    The following is a list of possible side-effects that may occur in medicines that contain Acetylcysteine. This is not a comprehensive list. These side-effects are possible, but do not always occur. Some of the side-effects may be rare but serious. Consult your doctor if you observe any of the following side-effects, especially if they do not go away.
    If you notice other side-effects not listed above, contact your doctor for medical advice. You may also report side-effects to your local food and drug administration authority.
    References: 7, 8
    Learn more: Side-effects

    Acetylcysteine - Precautions & How to Use

    Before using Acetylcysteine, inform your doctor about your current list of medications, over the counter products (e.g. vitamins, herbal supplements, etc.), allergies, pre-existing diseases, and current health conditions (e.g. pregnancy, upcoming surgery, etc.). Some health conditions may make you more susceptible to the side-effects of the drug. Take as directed by your doctor or follow the direction printed on the product insert. Dosage is based on your condition. Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens. Important counseling points are listed below.
    • Anaphylactoid Reactions
    • Asthma patients report to doctor history of asthma
    • Monitoring patients with asthma
    • Nursing women may consider resuming nursing 30 hours after administration of Acetylcysteine
    • Patients less than 40 kg need adjustment in volume administered
    • Patients requiring fluid restriction need adjustment in volume administered
    References: 9, 9

    Acetylcysteine - Drug Interactions

    If you use other drugs or over the counter products at the same time, the effects of Acetylcysteine may change. This may increase your risk for side-effects or cause your drug not to work properly. Tell your doctor about all the drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements you are using, so that you doctor can help you prevent or manage drug interactions. Acetylcysteine may interact with the following drugs and products:
    References: 11
    Learn more: Interactions

    Acetylcysteine - Contraindications

    Hypersensitivity to Acetylcysteine is a contraindication. In addition, Acetylcysteine should not be used if you have the following conditions:
    References: 9
    Learn more: Contraindications

    Where to Buy Acetylcysteine

    Click here to find nearby pharmacies/medical stores where you can buy Acetylcysteine.

    Acetylcysteine - Frequently asked Questions

    • Is Acetylcysteine safe to consume or apply when pregnant?
      Please consult with your doctor for case-specific recommendations.
      References: 9
    • Is Acetylcysteine safe while breastfeeding?
      Please discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
      References: 9
    • Can Acetylcysteine be used for mucus thinning and acute cough due to viscous mucus?
      Yes, mucus thinning and acute cough due to viscous mucus are among the most common reported uses for Acetylcysteine. Please do not use Acetylcysteine for mucus thinning and acute cough due to viscous mucus without consulting first with your doctor. Click here and view survey results to find out what other patients report as common uses for Acetylcysteine.
    • At what frequency do I need to use Acetylcysteine? website users have reported thrice a day and once in 2 days as the most common frequency of using Acetylcysteine. Please follow your doctor's advice on how often you need to Acetylcysteine. Click here and view survey results to find out what other patients report as frequency of using Acetylcysteine.
    • Should I consume Acetylcysteine empty stomach, before food or after food? website users have most commonly reported consuming Acetylcysteine after food. However, this may not be reflective of how you should consume this medicine. Please follow your doctor's advice on how you should use this medicine. Click here and view survey results to find out what other patients report as timing of using Acetylcysteine.
    • Is it safe to drive or operate heavy machinery when consuming?
      If you experience drowsiness, dizziness, hypotension or a headache as side-effects when using Acetylcysteine medicine then it may not be safe to drive a vehicle or operate heavy machinery. One should not drive a vehicle if using the medicine makes you drowsy, dizzy or lowers your blood-pressure extensively. Pharmacists also advise patients not to drink alcohol with medicines as alcohol intensifies drowsiness side-effects. Please check for these effects on your body when using Acetylcysteine. Always consult with your doctor for recommendations specific to your body and health conditions.
    • Is this medicine or product addictive or habit forming?
      Most medicines don't come with a potential for addiction or abuse. Usually, government's categorizes medicines that can be addictive as controlled substances. Examples include schedule H or X in India and schedule II-V in the US. Please consult the product package to make sure that the medicine does not belong to such special categorizations of medicines. Lastly, do not self-medicate and increase your body's dependence to medicines without the advice of a doctor.
    • Can it be stopped immediately or do I have to slowly ween off consumption?
      Some medicines need to be tapered or cannot be stopped immediately because of rebound effects. Please consult with your doctor for recommendations specific to your body, health and other medications that you may be using.

    Other important Information on Acetylcysteine

    Missing a dose

    In case you miss a dose, use it as soon as you notice. If it is close to the time of your next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your dosing schedule. Do not use extra dose to make up for a missed dose. If you are regularly missing doses, consider setting an alarm or asking a family member to remind you. Please consult your doctor to discuss changes in your dosing schedule or a new schedule to make up for missed doses, if you have missed too many doses recently.
    References: 12, 13, 14, 15

    Overdosage of Acetylcysteine

    • Do not use more than prescribed dose. Taking more medication will not improve your symptoms; rather they may cause poisoning or serious side-effects. If you suspect that you or anyone else who may have overdosed of Acetylcysteine, please go to the emergency department of the closest hospital or nursing home. Bring a medicine box, container, or label with you to help doctors with necessary information.
    • Do not give your medicines to other people even if you know that they have the same condition or it seems that they may have similar conditions. This may lead to overdosage.
    • Please consult your physician or pharmacist or product package for more information.
    References: 16, 17, 18

    Storage of Acetylcysteine

    • Store medicines at room temperature, away from heat and direct light. Do not freeze medicines unless required by package insert. Keep medicines away from children and pets.
    • Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into drainage unless instructed to do so. Medication discarded in this manner may contaminate the environment. Please consult your pharmacist or doctor for more details on how to safely discard Acetylcysteine.
    References: 19, 20, 21, 22

    Expired Acetylcysteine

    • Taking a single dose of expired Acetylcysteine is unlikely to produce an adverse event. However, please discuss with your primary health provider or pharmacist for proper advice or if you feel unwell or sick. Expired drug may become ineffective in treating your prescribed conditions. To be on the safe side, it is important not to use expired drug. If you have a chronic illness that requires taking medicine constantly such as heart condition, seizures, and life-threatening allergies, you are much safer keeping in touch with your primary health care provider so that you can have a fresh supply of unexpired medications.
    References: 23, 24

    Dosage Information

    Please consult your physician or pharmacist or refer to product package.

    News and Updates

    Latest news and updates related to Acetylcysteine. Subscribe to get latest posts via email or subscribe to a RSS feed.

    Thursday, June 08, 2017 -- Reviewed by:  Dr. Alan Gaby, M.D.  Author: Back SE, et al Reference: A double-blind, randomized, controlled pilot trial of N-acetylcysteine in Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders. J Clin Psychiatry 2016;77:e1439-e1446. Design: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Participants: Thirty-five military Veterans (34 male; mean age, 49 years) with both posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) […]

    Acetylcysteine - Demographic Information


    1. Green JL, Heard KJ, Reynolds KM, Albert D (May 2013). "Oral and Intravenous Acetylcysteine for Treatment of Acetaminophen Toxicity: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis". The Western Journal of Emergency Medicine. 14 (3): 218–26. doi:10.5811/westjem.2012.4.6885. PMC 3656701free to read. PMID 23687539. - Accessed: October 12, 2016.
    2. Tam, J; Nash, EF; Ratjen, F; Tullis, E; Stephenson, A (12 July 2013). "Nebulized and oral thiol derivatives for pulmonary disease in cystic fibrosis.". The Cochrane database of systematic reviews (7): CD007168. doi:10.1.CD007168.pub3. PMID 23852992. - Accessed: October 12, 2016.
    3. Tepel M, van der Giet M, Schwarzfeld C, Laufer U, Liermann D, Zidek W (Jul 2000). "Prevention of radiographic-contrast-agent-induced reductions in renal function by acetylcysteine". The New England Journal of Medicine. 343 (3): 180–4. doi:10.1056/NEJM304. PMID 10900277. - Accessed: October 12, 2016.
    4. Palma PC, Villaça Júnior CJ, Netto Júnior NR (1986). "N-acetylcysteine in the prevention of cyclophosphamide induced haemorrhagic cystitis". International Surgery. 71 (1): 36–7. PMID 3522468. - Accessed: October 12, 2016.
    5. Grandjean EM, Berthet P, Ruffmann R, Leuenberger P (Feb 2000). "Efficacy of oral long-term N-acetylcysteine in chronic bronchopulmonary disease: a meta-analysis of published double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials". Clinical Therapeutics. 22 (2): 209–21. doi:10.1016/S0149-2918(00)88479-9. PMID 10743980. - Accessed: October 12, 2016.
    6. Dean O, Giorlando F, Berk M (Mar 2011). "N-acetylcysteine in psychiatry: current therapeutic evidence and potential mechanisms of action". Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience. 36 (2): 78–86. doi:10.1503/jpn.100057. PMC 3044191free to read. PMID 21118657. - Accessed: October 12, 2016.
    7. "Acetadote Package Insert" (PDF). FDA. Retrieved 22 August 2016. - Accessed: October 12, 2016.
    8. "Mucomyst Package Insert". Retrieved 22 August 2016. - Accessed: October 12, 2016.
    9. DailyMed LABEL: ACETYLCYSTEINE- acetylcysteine injection. Retrieved on 10/2/2016. - Accessed: October 12, 2016.
    10. DailyMed LABEL: ACETYLCYSTEINE- acetylcysteine injection. Retrieved on 10/2/2016. - Accessed: October 12, 2016.
    11. DailyMed LABEL: ACETYLCYSTEINE- acetylcysteine injection - Accessed: October 12, 2016.
    12. - Accessed: July 14, 2016.
    13. - Accessed: July 3, 2016.
    14. Cancer.Net (2014). - Accessed: July 3, 2016.
    15. Schachter, S.C., Shafer, P. O. &; Sirven, J.I. (2013). - Accessed: May 28, 2016.
    16. National Institute of Drug Abuse (2010). - Accessed: July 21, 2016.
    17. eMedicinehealth (2016). - Accessed: July 21, 2016.
    18. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010). - Accessed: July 21, 2016.
    19. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. December 12, 2011. - Accessed: June 10, 2016.
    20. The Center for Improving Medication Management and the National Council on Patient Information and Education. - Accessed: June 10, 2016.
    21. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. December 24, 2013. - Accessed: June 10, 2016.
    22. World Health Organization: - Accessed: July 1, 2016.
    23. Lyon, R. C., Taylor, J. S., Porter, D. A., et al. (2006) Stability profiles of drug products extended beyond labeled expiration dates. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences; 95:1549-60 - Accessed: July 3, 2016.
    24. Harvard Medical School (2016). - Accessed: May 1, 2016.

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    Last updated date

    This page was last updated on 11/22/2017.
    This page provides information for Acetylcysteine in English.
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