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Name of the generic: acetylcysteine 
The brand name is NAC. N-A-C. Sustain
Dosage forms: oral capsule (500 mg; 600 mg); oral tablet (600 mg)
Drug class: Antidotes, Mucolytics


What is Acetylcysteine?

Acetylcysteine helps reduce or prevent liver damage that can be caused by the consumption of large amounts of Acetaminophen (Tylenol).

There are different types and brands of acetylcysteine that can be bought at a pharmacy. There are a few forms of acetylcysteine that can be effective as an acetaminophen antidote. Don’t try to treat an overdose of acetaminophen without medical guidance.

The medicine can also be employed for other purposes that are not covered in this guideline for medication.



In the event of an emergency, it is possible that you won’t be able to tell your healthcare providers about any health concerns. Be sure that any physician caring for you afterward knows the medicine you took.


Before taking this medication, you must consult your physician

Acetylcysteine should not be used in case you have an allergy to it.

If you can before receiving acetylcysteine from your doctor, inform them who you are if you’ve had:

  • a stomach ulcer;
  • stomach bleeding, or bleeding in your the esophagus (esophageal variations);
  • hypertension, have a diet that is low in salt;
  • congestive heart failure; or
  • kidney disease.

Consult a physician before using acetylcysteine when you are breastfeeding or pregnant.

In an emergency situation, you might not be able to inform caregivers whether you’re breastfeeding or pregnant. Be sure that any doctor who cares for the baby or your pregnancy is aware that you have received this medication.


What is the best way to do it?

Follow the directions on the label or as directed by your doctor.

Do not consume acetylcysteine in your home if it is difficult to understand the entire instruction.

If you’re in a medical emergency If you are in an emergency medical setting: Prior to taking this medicine, the medical professionals will conduct an analysis of your blood to determine the level of acetaminophen within your body. The test is most efficient when done within 4-8 hours following an overdose of acetaminophen. If you’re unable to recall the last time you consumed acetaminophen or how much you consumed, you’ll probably be given your first dose of Acetylcysteine immediately.

Your doctor will decide the length of time you will be treated with Acetylcysteine. Don’t stop taking this medication until your doctor has told you to.

If you vomit within an hour of taking acetylcysteine you might need to take a different dose.

Keep at room temperature, far from heat and moisture.


If I don’t take a dose?

You should take the medication as quickly as you can, however, do not take any missed doses if it’s nearing the time to take the next dose. Don’t take two doses at a time.


If I take too much?

Get medical attention immediately or contact for help at the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.


What to avoid?

Follow your doctor’s advice regarding any restrictions on your food, drink, or activities.


Acetylcysteine side effects

Contact a medical professional immediately Get medical attention immediately if you notice symptoms that indicate an allergy, such as difficulty breathing; hives, or swelling of your lips, face, and tongue.

Consult your physician immediately If you are suffering from:

  • severe or ongoing vomiting;
  • Vomit or bloody vomit that looks similar to coffee grounds, or
  • symptoms that indicate that the medicine might not be effective: stomach discomfort, appetite loss, black stools, dark urine, and jaundice (yellowing of the eyes or skin).

Common side effects could be:

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

This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. others could happen. Contact your doctor to seek medical advice on the effects. You may report any adverse reactions to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


What other medications can impact Acetylcysteine?

Other drugs can also alter acetylcysteine levels, such as prescription and over-the-counter medicines as well as vitamins and herbal products. Discuss with your doctor your current medications and any medication you begin or stop taking.


For more information

Always consult your physician to make sure the information presented on this page is applicable to your particular situation.

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