N-acetylcysteine Pharmacology


About N-acetylcysteine
Sulphur containing Amino acid derivative, A mucolytic agent and paracetamol (acetaminophen) Antidote.
Mechanism of Action of N-acetylcysteine
N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) is a metabolite of the sulfur-containing amino acid; Cysteine plays a role in the sulfation cycle, acting as a sulfur donor in phase II detoxification and as a methyl donor in the conversion of homocysteine to methionine. Cysteine also helps synthesize glutathione, one of the body`s most important natural antioxidants and detoxifiers.
N-Acetyl Cysteine increases Glutathione Levels
N-Acetyl Cysteine is rapidly metabolized to intracellular glutathione. Glutathione acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body. Glutathione also detoxifies chemicals into less harmful compounds. N-Acetyl Cysteine also protects the body from acetaminophen toxicity and is used in hospitals for patients with acetaminophen poisoning. It has also been shown to be effective at treating liver failure from other causes as well.
N-Acetyl Cysteine chelates Heavy Metals
Heavy metals like lead, mercury and arsenic are detoxified and removed from the body by N-Acetyl Cysteine. It also increases the excretion of zinc and other essential minerals when taken over an extended period. It is therefore necessary to supplement zinc, copper and other trace minerals when taking N-Acetyl Cysteine
N-Acetyl Cysteine and the Immune System
Glutathione is known to aid in the transport of nutrients to lymphocytes and phagocytes, two major classes of immune cells, and to protect cell membranes. While purified glutathione is available as a dietary supplement, absorption is low, and N-Acetyl Cysteine is thought to be a better method of boosting cellular glutathione levels. N-Acetyl Cysteine is being investigated as a treatment for AIDS.
N-Acetyl Cysteine Breaks up Mucus
N-Acetyl Cysteine cleaves disulfide bonds by converting them to two sulfhydryl groups. This result in the breakup of mucoproteins in lung mucus and reduces their chain lengths and thinning the mucus, improving conditions such as bronchitis and flu.
N-Acetyl Cysteine and Cancer
N-Acetyl Cysteine has been shown to reduce the proliferation of certain cells lining the colon and may reduce the risk of colon cancer in people with recurrent polyps in the colon. Its action as an antioxidant and a glutathione precursor may also contribute to a protective effect against cancer.
Pharmacokinets of N-acetylcysteine
Absorption: N-acetyl Cysteine is well absorbed orally.
Distribution: It is widely distributed in the body both in bound and unbound form.
Metabolism: It is metabolised in the liver.
Excretion: Drug and its metabolites are excreted mainly in the urine.
Onset of Action for N-acetylcysteine
Duration of Action for N-acetylcysteine
Half Life of N-acetylcysteine
Side Effects of N-acetylcysteine
1. Rhinorrhoea
2. Nausea
3. Stomatitis
4. Vomiting
5. Hypotension
6. Hypertension
7. Tachycardia
8. Fever
9. Chest tightness
10. Drowsiness
11. Bronchoconstriction
12. Rashes
Contra-indications of N-acetylcysteine
1. Hypersensitivity to N-Acetyl Cysteine
Special Precautions while taking N-acetylcysteine
1. Severe respiratory insufficiency
2. Asthma
3. Peptic ulcer
4. Avoid use of nebulisers containing metal or rubber components
Pregnancy Related Information
Use with caution
Old Age Related Information
Use with caution
Breast Feeding Related Information
Use with caution
Children Related Information
Use with caution
NEONATES: Contraindicated
Indications for N-acetylcysteine
1. Paracetamol poisoning
2. Acute and chronic bronchitis
3. Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases
4. Tracheostomy care
5. Alveolar proteinosis
6. Angina pectoris
7. Gastritis
8. Heart attack
9. Mucolytics
Interactions for N-acetylcysteine
Typical Dosage for N-acetylcysteine
Oral: 200 mg 3 times daily with Vitamin C
Poisoning: 150 mg / kg body weight in 200 ml 5 % glucose as IV infusion over 15 minutes followed by 50 mg / kg body weight in 500 ml 5 % glucose as IV infusion over 4 hours and then 100 mg / kg body weight in 1000 ml 5 % glucose as IV infusion over 16 hours.
Unstable angina: Acetyl Cysteine 5 g in 200 ml 5% dextrose is given as slow IV perfusion for a period of 15 minutes after Nitroglycerine infusion.
Idiopathic oligoasthenospermia: 600 mg 2 times daily for 2 months

Nebulisation: 3 - 5 ml of a 20%solution 6 - 8 hours daily and if needed up to 10 ml of a 20 % solution can be given every 2 - 6 hours. Liquefied secretions can be removed by mechanical suction.
Instillation: 1- 2 ml of 20% solution can be given every hour through direct endotracheal instillation.
Injection : 200mg /ml injection through Tracheostomy tube
Schedule of N-acetylcysteine
Storage Requirements for N-acetylcysteine
Store at 20 degree C. Protect from heat and light. Keep out of the reach of children.
Effects of Missed Dosage of N-acetylcysteine
Take the missed dose as soon as noticed and if it is the time for next dose then skip the missed dose. Continue the regular schedule. Do not double the dose.
Effects of Overdose of N-acetylcysteine
Give supportive measures and symptomatic treatment.

Home Delivery for N-acetylcysteine in Your City

Medicine India is just a publishing medium for medicine related information and does not provide services or sales of medicines including n-acetylcysteine.

However, we do publish a comprehensive directory of Pharmacies, Chemists and Druggists in cities all over India. You can use this directory to find the medicine stores in your city (or area) that provide home delivery services for n-acetylcysteine and other medicines and health products. Home delivery services for n-acetylcysteine may be free or they may cost you depending on the pharmacy and the minimum order requirements. It would be best to get this clarified while placing the order.

Please be aware that you should take n-acetylcysteine only if a doctor has recommended or prescribed it. Some or all pharmacies who provide a home delivery service for medicines might insist on a prescription for n-acetylcysteine before they complete the sale. You can get this information while placing the order for n-acetylcysteine with the pharmacy.

N-acetylcysteine is a generic medicine name and there are several brands available for it. Some of the brands for n-acetylcysteine might be better known than n-acetylcysteine itself. If the pharmacy that's willing to deliver medicines to your home doesn't have n-acetylcysteine in stock, you can ask for one of the branded alternatives for n-acetylcysteine.