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Acetylcysteine Solution

Generic name: Acetylcysteine Solution [ a-se-teel-SIS-teen ]
Drug classes: Antidotes, Mucolytics

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 10, 2023.

Uses of Acetylcysteine Solution:

  • It is used to treat acetaminophen overdose.
  • It is used to thin mucus in the lungs.
  • It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Acetylcysteine Solution?

  • If you have an allergy to acetylcysteine or any other part of acetylcysteine solution.
  • If you are allergic to acetylcysteine solution; any part of acetylcysteine solution; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.

This medicine may interact with other drugs or health problems.

Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take acetylcysteine solution with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take Acetylcysteine Solution?

  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take acetylcysteine solution. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • The drug may change color when the bottle is opened.
  • There may be a bad odor to acetylcysteine solution. This most often goes away fast.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan on getting pregnant, or are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks to you and the baby.

How is this medicine (Acetylcysteine Solution) best taken?

Use acetylcysteine solution as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

Liquid (when breathed in):

  • For breathing in only as a liquid (solution) by a special machine (nebulizer) into the lungs.
  • If acetylcysteine solution is used with a face mask, your face may feel sticky after using. Wash your face with water.
  • Do not use if the solution is leaking or has particles.

Liquid (when given by mouth or feeding tube):

  • Mix with diet soda and drink.
  • Take acetylcysteine solution within 1 hour of mixing.
  • Drink lots of noncaffeine liquids unless told to drink less liquid by your doctor.
  • If you throw up within 1 hour of taking acetylcysteine solution, take 1 more dose.
  • Those who have feeding tubes may use acetylcysteine solution. Use as you have been told. Flush the feeding tube after acetylcysteine solution is given.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
  • Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

For all uses of acetylcysteine solution:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Shortness of breath.

Liquid (when given by mouth):

  • Black, tarry, or bloody stools.
  • Throwing up blood or throw up that looks like coffee grounds.

What are some other side effects of Acetylcysteine Solution?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

For all uses of acetylcysteine solution:

Liquid (when breathed in):

  • Runny nose.
  • Feeling sleepy.
  • Mouth irritation or mouth sores.
  • Clammy skin.
  • Fever.

These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

How do I store and/or throw out Acetylcysteine Solution?

  • Store unopened vials at room temperature.
  • Store opened vials in a refrigerator. Throw away any part not used after 4 days.
  • Protect from light.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about acetylcysteine solution, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Frequently asked questions

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.