What is this medicine?
ACETYLCYSTEINE (a se teel SIS teen) is a drug that loosens and thins mucus in the lungs. It is used to make breathing easier in patients with bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, emphysema, tuberculosis, or other lung problems. It is also used after an acetaminophen overdose to prevent liver damage.
How should I use this medicine?
This medicine is usually inhaled into the lungs using a nebulizer. In a hospital or clinic setting, a health care provider may put this medicine directly into the lungs through a trachea tube or give by mouth in an emergency. Follow the directions on the prescription label. For inhalation through a nebulizer, dilute with sterile saline or water as directed. You will be taught how to use your nebulizer. Use diluted medicine within 1 hour of mixing. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
chest tightness, pain
coughing up blood
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
changes in taste
What may interact with this medicine?
Interactions are not expected.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
Where should I keep my medicine?
Keep out of the reach of children.
Store unopened bottles at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). If only some of a bottle is used, store the remaining undiluted medicine in a refrigerator. Use open bottles within 96 hours (4 days). Use diluted medicine within 1 hour. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.
What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
stomach ulcer or varices
an unusual or allergic reaction to acetylcysteine, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
pregnant or trying to get pregnant
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
Tell your doctor or health care professional if your symptoms do not improve or if you get worse. If you are using a nebulizer at home, make sure you understand how to use it properly.
Drink water as directed. This will help to loosen and thin mucus.
Inhalations of this medicine can leave a sticky film in your mouth and on your face. Rinse with water after each treatment.