Acetylcysteine (By breathing)

Introduction

Acetylcysteine (a-seet-il-SIS-teen)

Helps you breathe better by thinning or dissolving thick lung mucus caused by emphysema, pneumonia, cystic fibrosis, or other lung problems.

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to acetylcysteine.

How to Use This Medicine

Liquid

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • You will use this medicine with an inhaler device called a nebulizer. The nebulizer turns the medicine into a fine mist that you breathe in through your mouth and to your lungs. Your caregiver will show you how to use your nebulizer.
  • This medicine is sometimes given through a face mask. It also may be given inside a plastic tent that is placed around your head. The medicine is put into the air of the tent for breathing.
  • This medicine may have a bad smell at first. The odor should go away soon after you start your treatment.
  • In some cases, the medicine in an opened vial might turn from clear to a light purple color. This is normal and does not change how the medicine works.
  • Clean the nebulizing equipment immediately after use.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store unopened vials of this medicine at room temperature, away from heat and direct light. Do not freeze. After opening, you may store the vial in the refrigerator for 4 days.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of the used medicine container and any leftover medicine. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using medicine to treat an infection (antibiotics) such as erythromycin, oxytetracycline, or tetracycline. Do not mix other medicines in the nebulizer with acetylcysteine, unless your doctor tells you to.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Tell your doctor if you have asthma or if it is hard for you to cough.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse, call your doctor.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
  • Chest tightness.
  • Coughing up blood.
  • Fever.
  • Skin rash.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Clammy skin.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Runny nose.
  • Sore mouth.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
Adam Data Copyright The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only--they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

For information 410.787.4000

© 2013 UM Baltimore Washington Medical Center.  All rights reserved.

301 Hospital Drive, Glen Burnie, MD 21061 | 410-787-4000 | TTY 410-787-4498