Generic Name: acetylcysteine (oral, effervescent) (a SEET il SIS teen)
Brand Name: Cetylev
What is acetylcysteine?
Acetylcysteine is an acetaminophen antidote that helps your body preserve a substance that can help detoxify the liver.
There are other brands and forms of acetylcysteine available, and some can be purchased over the counter. Not all forms of this medicine are effective as an acetaminophen antidote. Treatment of acetaminophen overdose should be managed by a medical doctor.
Acetylcysteine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use acetylcysteine if you are allergic to it.
To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
a history of stomach bleeding or bleeding in your esophagus (esophageal varices);
high blood pressure, or if you are on a low-salt diet;
congestive heart failure; or
It is not known whether this medicine is harmful to use during pregnancy. However, an acetaminophen overdose may cause harm to both the mother and the baby. The benefit of treating the overdose may outweigh any risks of taking acetylcysteine. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant.
It is not known whether acetylcysteine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
In an emergency situation it may not be possible to tell your caregivers if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Make sure any doctor caring for your pregnancy or your baby knows you have received this medicine.
How should I take acetylcysteine?
Before you take acetylcysteine, your caregivers may perform a blood test to measure the level of acetaminophen in your body. This test is most effective when performed within 4 to 8 hours after you have taken acetaminophen. If you cannot remember when you last took acetaminophen, you will most likely be given the first dose of acetylcysteine right away.
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Do not swallow or chew an effervescent tablet. This tablet must be dissolved in water before you take it. Keep the tablet in its foil blister pack until you are ready to use it. Drop the tablet into a glass of water. Stir and drink this mixture right away.
Do not take acetylcysteine at home if you do not fully understand all instructions specific to your use of this medicine.
While using acetylcysteine, you may need frequent blood tests.
Your doctor will determine how long to treat you with acetylcysteine. Do not stop taking this medicine until your doctor tells you to.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking acetylcysteine?
Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.
Acetylcysteine side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
severe or ongoing vomiting;
coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds; or
Common side effects may include:
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect acetylcysteine?
Other drugs may interact with acetylcysteine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
More about acetylcysteine
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Compare Alternatives
- Support Group
- Pricing & Coupons
- 12 Reviews – Add your own review/rating
- Drug class: antidotes
- Acetylcysteine inhalation
- Acetylcysteine Effervescent Tablets
- Acetylcysteine Injection
- Acetylcysteine Solution
- Acetylcysteine (Advanced Reading)
- ... +2 more
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about acetylcysteine.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. 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 drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 1.02.
Last reviewed: September 20, 2016
Date modified: February 01, 2018