NAC Side Effects

Generic Name: acetylcysteine

Note: This page contains side effects data for the generic drug acetylcysteine. It is possible that some of the dosage forms included below may not apply to the brand name NAC.

It is possible that some side effects of NAC may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.

For the Consumer

Applies to acetylcysteine: inhalation solution

As well as its needed effects, acetylcysteine (the active ingredient contained in NAC) may cause unwanted side effects that require medical attention.

If any of the following side effects occur while taking acetylcysteine, check with your doctor or nurse as soon as possible:

Less common
  • Wheezing, tightness in chest, or difficulty in breathing (especially in asthma patients)
Rare
  • Skin rash or other irritation

Some acetylcysteine side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned about them:

Less common
  • Clammy skin
  • fever
  • increase in amount of mucus in lungs
  • irritation or soreness of mouth, throat, or lungs
  • nausea or vomiting
  • runny nose

For patients using a face mask for inhalation of acetylcysteine: the mask may leave a stickiness on your face. This can be removed with water.

When you use acetylcysteine, you may notice that the medicine has an unpleasant odor at first. However, this smell will go away soon after you use the medicine.

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to acetylcysteine: compounding powder, inhalation solution, intravenous solution, oral capsule, oral tablet

General

The most common adverse events were anaphylactoid reaction, nausea, vomiting, flushing, and skin rash.[Ref]

Hypersensitivity

Anaphylactoid symptoms include airway obstruction (bronchospasm), angioedema, dyspnea, hypotension, shock, tachycardia, urticaria, and injection site reaction (including rash). These are most common either during, or at the end of the loading dose infusion, and may be dose related. Careful monitoring is recommended.[Ref]

Very common (10% or more): Anaphylactoid reaction (18%)
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Anaphylaxis
Rare (less than 0.1%): Acquired sensitization
Frequency not reported: Dermal eruptions[Ref]

Gastrointestinal

Very common (10% or more): Vomiting NOS (12%)
Common (1% to 10%): Nausea
Frequency not reported: Stomatitis[Ref]

Respiratory

Common (1% to 10%): Respiratory symptoms, pharyngitis, rhinorrhea, rhonchi, throat tightness
Frequency not reported: Bronchoconstriction, bronchospasm, irritation to tracheal and bronchial tract (inhalation route), hemoptysis, dyspnea, respiratory arrest, coughing, stridor[Ref]

Respiratory symptoms were defined as presence of any of the following: cough, wheezing, stridor, shortness of breath, chest tightness, respiratory distress, or bronchospasm.[Ref]

Cardiovascular

Common (1% to 10%): Tachycardia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hypotension
Frequency not reported: Cyanosis, tachycardia, bradycardia, cardiac arrest, extrasystoles, flushing, hypertension, vasodilation, ECG changes[Ref]

Dermatologic

Common (1% to 10%): Urticaria/facial flushing, rash NOS, pruritus, flushing
Frequency not reported: Angioedema, sweating, edema periorbital, clamminess[Ref]

Metabolic

Common (1% to 10%): Edema
Frequency not reported: Acidosis, hypokalemia[Ref]

Other

Rare (less than 0.1%): Death
Frequency not reported: Fever, malaise, rigors, chest pain, facial pain, facial edema, raised temperature[Ref]

Nervous system

Frequency not reported: Syncope, generalized seizure, drowsiness[Ref]

Local

Frequency not reported: Injection site reaction[Ref]

Musculoskeletal

Frequency not reported: Arthralgia, arthropathy[Ref]

Hepatic

Frequency not reported: Deterioration of liver function[Ref]

Hematologic

Frequency not reported: Thrombocytopenia[Ref]

Ocular

Frequency not reported: Blurred vision, eye pain, puffy eyes, itching/redness/irritation in eyes (ophthalmic formulation)[Ref]

Psychiatric

Frequency not reported: Anxiety[Ref]

References

1. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

2. "Product Information. Acetadote (acetylcysteine)." Cumberland-Swan Inc, Smyrna, TN.

3. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0

4. "Product Information. Acetylcysteine (acetylcysteine)." American Regent Laboratories Inc, Shirley, NY.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. Drugs.com does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.

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