What is acetylcysteine?

Acetylcysteine is a mucolytic (myoo-koe-LIT-ik) drug that breaks down mucus, the substance that lubricates many parts of the body such as the mouth, throat, and lungs.

Acetylcysteine is used to thin the mucus in people with certain lung conditions such as cystic fibrosis, emphysema, bronchitis, tuberculosis. Acetylcysteine is also used during surgery or anesthesia, and to prepare the throat or lungs for a medical test.

Acetylcysteine may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

Precautions

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to acetylcysteine.

Before using acetylcysteine, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have asthma. You may not be able to use acetylcysteine, or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.

FDA pregnancy category B. This medication is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether acetylcysteine inhalation passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Do not mix other medicines in a nebulizer with acetylcysteine, unless your doctor has told you to.

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Instructions

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Symptoms of an acetylcysteine overdose are not known.

Use the medication as soon as you remember the missed dose. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and use the medicine at your next regularly scheduled time. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

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Side Effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using acetylcysteine and call your doctor at once if you have chest tightness or trouble breathing.

Less serious side effects of acetylcysteine include:

  • unusual or unpleasant smell while using the medication;
  • sticky feeling around the nebulizer mask;
  • white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips;
  • nausea, vomiting;
  • fever;
  • runny nose, sore throat;
  • drowsiness; or
  • skin rash or clammy feeling.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Interactions

There may be other drugs that can affect acetylcysteine, or that should not be used in the same nebulizer. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Other Names

Acetadote, Acys-5, Mucomyst, Mucomyst-20, N-acetylcysteine, NAC, Parvolex, Parvolex (obsolete), Solgar NAC, acetylcysteine, and Mucomyst-10

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Disclaimer

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2004 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version 2.05. Revision date 8/23/04

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