GENERIC NAME: ACETYLCYSTEINE - INHALATION/ORAL (a-SEET-il-SIS-teen)
USES: When inhaled by mouth, acetylcysteine is used to help thin and loosen mucus in the airways due to certain lung diseases (such as emphysema, bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, pneumonia). This effect helps you to clear the mucus from your lungs so that you can breath easier.When taken by mouth, acetylcysteine is used to prevent liver damage from acetaminophen overdose.OTHER This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.This drug may also be taken by mouth to prevent kidney damage due to dyes from certain X-ray procedures (such as CT scan).
HOW TO USE: If you are using this medication to treat lung disease, inhale this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor. A health care professional will show you the proper way to use this medication. Learn all preparation and usage instructions.You may notice a slight odor when you first breath in the medication. This odor will quickly go away. If you are using a face mask to breath in the medication, there may be some stickiness on your face after use. Wash your face with water to remove the stickiness.Do not mix acetylcysteine with other inhaled medications unless directed by the doctor or pharmacist.If you are taking this medication by mouth, take it as directed by your doctor. The solution is usually mixed with another liquid (such as cola) to decrease nausea and vomiting. Drink the medication within 1 hour of mixing.Tell your doctor if you vomit within 1 hour after taking your medication. You may need to take another dose.The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. For acetaminophen overdose, the dosage is also be based on your weight.Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.
SIDE EFFECTS: Nausea and vomiting may occur. Mouth sores and runny nose may also occur if you are inhaling this medication by mouth. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.If you are taking this medication by mouth, tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: severe stomach/abdominal pain, black stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds.If you are inhaling this medication by mouth, seek immediate medical attention if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: chest pain/tightness, trouble breathing.A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.In the US -Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
PRECAUTIONS: Before using acetylcysteine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: asthma, stomach/intestinal ulcer.During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: See also How to Use section.Your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor or pharmacist first.Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use.This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (including urine ketone test), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.
OVERDOSE: If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
NOTES: Do not share this medication with others.For acetaminophen overdose, laboratory and/or medical tests (such as liver/kidney function test, acetaminophen drug levels, blood mineral levels) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
MISSED DOSE: If you are using this medication to treat lung disease and miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.If you are using this medication to treat acetaminophen overdose, it is important to take each scheduled dose as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor immediately to establish a new dosing schedule.
STORAGE: Store at room temperature between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) away from light. After opening the vial, store in the refrigerator between 35-46 degrees F (2-8 degrees C) and use within 96 hours (4 days). The solution may change to a light purple color. This is normal and will not affect how the drug works. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Information last revised March 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
Related Disease Conditions
Pneumonia (Symptoms, Causes, Types, Treatment, and Recovery)
Pneumonia is inflammation of the lungs caused by fungi, bacteria, or viruses. Symptoms and signs include cough, fever, shortness of breath, and chills. Antibiotics treat pneumonia, and the choice of the antibiotic depends upon the cause of the infection.
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a lung condition caused by smoking tobacco, exposure to secondhand smoke, and/or air pollutants. Conditions that accompany COPD include chronic bronchitis, chronic cough, and emphysema. Symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, wheezing, and chronic cough. Treatment of COPD includes GOLD guidelines, smoking cessation, medications, and surgery. The life expectancy of a person with COPD depends on the stage of the disease.
Cystic fibrosis is a disease of the mucus and sweat glands. Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease. The outcome of the disease leaves the body malnourished, with bulky and fouls smelling stools, vitamin insufficiency, gas, painful or swollen abdomen, infertility, susceptible to heat emergencies, and respiratory failure. There is no cure for cystic fibrosis, treatment of symptoms is used to manage the disease.
Lung Anatomy (Structure and Function)
The lungs are primarily responsible for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the air we breathe and the blood. Eliminating carbon dioxide from the blood is important, because as it builds up in the blood, headaches, drowsiness, coma, and eventually death may occur. The air we breathe in (inhalation) is warmed, humidified, and cleaned by the nose and the lungs.
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
Latest Lungs News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.