Alert

acetylcysteine (oral)

Pronunciation: a SEET il SIS teen

Brand: NAC, N-A-C Sustain

What is the most important information I should know about acetylcysteine?

In an emergency, you may not be able to tell caregivers about your health conditions. Make sure any doctor caring for you afterward knows you received this medicine.

What is acetylcysteine?

Acetylcysteine is used to help prevent or lessen liver damage caused by taking large quantities of acetaminophen (Tylenol).

There are other brands and forms of acetylcysteine available, and some can be purchased over the counter. Not all forms of this medicine are effective as an acetaminophen antidote. Do not attempt to treat an acetaminophen overdose without medical advice.

Acetylcysteine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking acetylcysteine?

You should not use acetylcysteine if you are allergic to it.

If possible before you receive acetylcysteine, tell your caregivers if you have ever had:

  • a stomach ulcer;
  • stomach bleeding or bleeding in your esophagus (esophageal varices);
  • high blood pressure, or if you are on a low-salt diet;
  • congestive heart failure; or
  • kidney disease.

Ask a doctor before using this medicine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

In an emergency, you may not be able to tell caregivers if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Make sure any doctor caring for your pregnancy or your baby knows you received this medicine.

How should I take acetylcysteine?

Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor.

Do not take acetylcysteine at home if you don't understand all instructions.

If you are in an emergency medical setting: Before you take acetylcysteine, your caregivers will perform a blood test to measure the level of acetaminophen in your body. This test is most effective when performed within 4 to 8 hours after an acetaminophen overdose. If you cannot remember when you last took acetaminophen or how much you took, you will most likely be given the first dose of acetylcysteine right away.

Your doctor will determine how long to treat you with acetylcysteine. Do not stop taking this medicine until your doctor tells you to.

If you vomit within 1 hour after taking acetylcysteine, you may need to take another dose.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking acetylcysteine?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

What are the possible side effects of acetylcysteine?

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

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe or ongoing vomiting;
  • coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds; or
  • signs that the medicine may not be working --upper stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Common side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, upset stomach;
  • rash; or
  • fever.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect acetylcysteine?

Other drugs may affect acetylcysteine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about acetylcysteine.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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.

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