Acetylcysteine Side Effects

Do you know what the acetylcysteine side effects are?

Unlike the few side effects of undenatured whey protein, there are several serious warnings you need to know if your considering N acetylcysteine. Some side effects can be life threatening such as in taking mega doses. There are some reasons you should not take NAC at all or unless you speak to your doctor first.

Note: This is not to be alarmist. Many sites promoting MLM products make it out to be some really bad supplement. The most evil thing about NAC is that it cuts into the profits of the MLM companies that sell products that are three times what the product should actually cost. It is affordable, it works and for most people, it is safe. It has been around fore several decades.

Acetylcysteine Side Effects

Route How it is taken or the form it comes in is called the route. NAC comes in...

  • sterile liquid form for intravenous (IV or in the blood through a vein) administration, usually in the hospital setting.
  • sterile liquid for drops in the eyes (not the same as above and potential serious risks could happen if IV mistakenly put in eyes.
  • solution for inhalation form for upper respiratory diseases to break up mucous.
  • oral supplement form, often in a capsule. It may have an unpleasant taste.
  • Each can result in different side effects.

    Dose How much is taken or used, the normal dose depends on the reason for NAC use. Note: The primary focus of this page is oral supplements containing NAC. There are numerous other reasons Doctors give or prescribe NAC. Some are reviewed here.

    Always take what the doctor prescribes or follow the labeling. In some cases, serious harm can come from failure to follow those directions.

    As a Mucolytic (Mucous Buster)

    It may be given for a number of reasons....

    • emphysema
    • bronchitis
    • tuberculosis
    • bronchitis
    • amyloidosis
    • pneumonia
    • in tracheotomy care
    • cystic fibrosis (exceeding dose recommendations may cause inflammatory problems.

    These doses will be by doctors orders and are by prescription only.

    Acetaminophen Overdose
    • IV or intravenous as ordered by doctor
    • Oral if patient allergic to IV
    Neuro-protective Agent

    If your getting a radiocontrast die injected in to you for a test, NAC may be given either IV or orally by doctors order. This is to protect your kidneys from deterioration or sudden failure.

    June 2006 "N-acetylcysteine and contrast-induced nephropathy in primary angioplasty". N. Engl. J. Med. 354 (26): 2773–82. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa054209. PMID 16807414.

    2003 "Acetylcysteine for Prevention of Acute Deterioration of Renal Function Following Elective Coronary Angiography and Intervention: A Randomized Controlled Trial". JAMA the Journal of the American Medical Association 289: 553. doi:10.1001/jama.289.5.553. PMID 12578487.

    Interstitial Lung Disease Reduction of Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorders Improve Immunity Function in AIDs Patients

    The n-acetylcysteine side effects or NAC side effects are considerably less than most other drugs and medicine.

    Headache: Stories of some experiencing headaches have circulated. The doctors who treat with NAC will often attribute these to the chelating effect on metal toxicity or it being a Herxheimer reaction. Talk to a doctor experienced with the use of NAC if this should happen. Although it could be cared for by decreasing the dose, headaches could be a sign or symptom of other conditions that need medical care.

    Used as an Inhalant: Using to thin mucus may cause nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, runny nose, clamminess, fever and an unpleasant odor the first several days of use.

    If a rash, mouth sores, breathing trouble develop, contact your doctor. With a face mask for the breathing treatment, your face may feel sticky after use. Water will clean it.

    If there are other effects not considered here, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

    Acetylcysteine Side Effects Considerations

    There is other acetylcysteine information or NAC information you should know about.

    Diabetes Mellitus: You should not take before first clearing it with a diabetic doctor familiar with the use of NAC. You might want to run it by your pharmacist too if you are on any other medications.

    Allergies to eggs, milk or wheat may experience problems with cysteine supplements. Only take under the supervision of your doctor.

    Kidney or Bladder Stones: supplemental vitamin C is necessary to prevent cysteine from being converted to stones.

    Kidney Disease or Dialyses: You should talk with your doctor before taking. You should talk to your pharmacist too.

    Liver Disease: You should talk with your doctor before taking cysteine.

    Acetylcysetine Contraindications

    Stomach Ulcers: Acetylcysteine is contraindicated for these patients.

    Organ Transplant Patients: Recipients of organ transplants Should Not Take NAC.

    How much is too much? A maximum safe level has not been established. No signs of toxicity from acetylcysteine have been reported.

    NAC appears to be safe but no long term continuous use studies have been preformed. The long term use in doses used for boosting glutathione have been not been studied for acetylcysteine side effects. However, it has been around for decades and many have been taking it for years. There appears to be nothing notable to indicate any kind of problem with long term use.

    In an animal study it was found that megadoses could cause liver injury. Too much of a good thing is not a good thing.

    Drug Food Interactions

    If your taking any of the following, do not take NAC with out first talking with your Doctor or Pharmacist or both.

    • activated charcoal
    • ampicillin
    • carbamazepine / Tegretol
    • cephaloridine / Loridine
    • cloxacillin / Cloxapen
    • methicillin Staphcillin
    • nitroglycerin / Nitrostat, Nitro-Dur, Nitro-Bid
    • oxacillin
    • Penicillin G
    • Quinacillin
    Other Acetylcysteine Side Effects

    Angioedema (edema or swelling of the skin)

    In almost 3 decades as a nurse, I have never witnessed or heard of anyone having a problem with NAC. It is one of the most recommended natural supplements for numerous health problems and to use as a rescue supplement for things like MSG exposure.

    N acetylcysteine What it is and does.

    What is Cysteine The precursor of GSH

    Boost Your Glutathione to get optimal health.

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