Acetylcysteine is a mucolytic agent, that is, it loosens and clears mucous in your respiratory tract.

Pronunciation: a-SEET-il-SIS-teen

What are acetylcysteine’s uses?

Acetylcysteine – also known as N-acetylcysteine (NUC) – reduces the thickness of mucous in the airways, making it easier to move through the lungs. It helps people with bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, emphysema, tuberculosis, or other lung problems to breathe more easily.

What dosage should you take?

Acetylcysteine is available in varying dosage forms for different symptoms. The standard dosage is 200mg in effervescent tablets taken in water three times daily. However, check the correct dosage with your Clicks pharmacist first. 

What special precautions should you take?

Acetylcysteine is not suitable for everyone and some people should never use it. The healthcare practitioner prescribing it should know your full medical history before subscribing it.

Additionally, be aware of these precautions:

  • Acetylcysteine may increase blood pressure.
  • Acetylcysteine in pregnancy is not expected to harm an unborn baby but tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.
  • When it comes to breastfeeding first consult your doctor about whether you can use it.

Acetylcysteine should be used with caution if you have / had the following conditions:

What drug interactions could you experience?

To avoid adverse acetylcysteine interactions, always inform your doctor or Clicks pharmacist what prescription and non-prescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements and herbal products you are taking or planning to take.

What are acetylcysteine’s side effects?

Side effects could include:

  • Allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • Breathing problems
  • Chest tightness and pain
  • Clamminess
  • Coughing up blood
  • Fever

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • Chest tightness
  • Trouble breathing

This is not a complete list of side effects. It’s essential that you call your doctor should you notice any severe or odd side effects.

What are the overdose symptoms?

It is extremely rare but an overdose is reported to have caused seizures and cerebral oedema (an excess accumulation of fluid in the brain). Call your doctor or an ambulance if you suspect an overdose.

The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in April 2015