Acetylcysteine (By mouth)

Introduction

Acetylcysteine (a-seet-il-SIS-teen)

Helps prevent liver damage caused by an overdose of acetaminophen (Tylenol®).

Brand Name(s)

NAC

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

Because an overdose of acetaminophen is very serious, there is no reason why this medicine should not be used.

How to Use This Medicine

Liquid

  • This medicine will be given to you while you are in the hospital. It works best when it is given within 16 hours after the overdose. The more time that goes by after the overdose, the less effective the medicine will be in protecting your liver.
  • A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
  • This medicine will be mixed with diet cola or other diet soft drink right before you take it. Drink the medicine immediately after it is mixed.
  • In most cases, you will receive a total of 17 doses of this medicine about 4 hours apart. If you vomit within 1 hour after taking your medicine, you will need to take another dose to make up for it.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breast feeding, or if you have kidney disease or liver disease. Tell your doctor if you have an ulcer or other stomach problems. Make sure your doctor knows if you have had an allergic reaction to any medicine.
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood on a regular basis while you are in the hospital.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Rash with a fever.
  • Severe or ongoing vomiting.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Mild nausea, vomiting, or upset stomach.
  • Rash.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: June 18, 2013

         
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