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Drug Guide    A   Acetylcysteine

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   Acetylcysteine

Acetylcysteine
IV


This medication is used as an antidote for acetaminophen overdose to prevent life-threatening liver damage. It is most effective if given within 8 to 10 hours after ingestion, but it can be used anytime up to 24 hours after an overdose. If acetaminophen overdose is suspected, but the exact time of ingestion is unknown, acetylcysteine may still be given.

 
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 Acetylcysteine images:

OverviewPhotosHow To UseSide EffectsPrecautionsMissed DoseDrug Interactions
Acetylcysteine

Uses
This medication is used as an antidote for acetaminophen overdose to prevent life-threatening liver damage. It is most effective if given within 8 to 10 hours after ingestion, but it can be used anytime up to 24 hours after an overdose. If acetaminophen overdose is suspected, but the exact time of ingestion is unknown, acetylcysteine may still be given.
Notes
  • Do not share this medication with others.Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., acetaminophen blood levels, liver and kidney function tests, electrolytes) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects.
  • Consult your doctor for more details.

Storage
  • Store at room temperature between 68-77 degrees F (20-25 degrees C) away from light and moisture.
  • Do not store in the bathroom.
  • Keep all medicines away from children and pets.


How To Use
  • Before and during use of this medication, acetaminophen blood levels will be taken.
  • The first blood test should be done no later than 4 hours after the suspected ingestion.
  • A repeat blood test may be necessary (e.g., in case of extended-release acetaminophen overdose).
  • Additional blood tests will determine if treatment should be continued.This medication is injected into a vein (intravenously-IV) by a healthcare professional, or as directed by your doctor.
  • The dosage is based on your weight.
  • This drug should be continued until your acetaminophen blood levels are below toxic levels.Follow all instructions for proper mixing and dilution with the correct IV fluids.
  • If you have any questions regarding the use of this medication, consult your pharmacist.Before using, check this product visually for particles or discoloration.
  • If either is present, do not use the liquid.
  • Discard the remaining content of any open vials immediately after use.

Side Effects
  • Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, flushing, stomach upset, cough, or increased sweating may occur.
  • If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects.
  • Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: eye pain, fainting, trouble walking.A serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs.
  • Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching, swelling (especially of the face, lips, tongue, or throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Precautions
  • Before taking acetylcysteine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies.Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: breathing disorders (e.g., asthma, bronchospasm).This drug may make you dizzy; use caution engaging in activities requiring alertness such as driving or using machinery.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages.This medication should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy.
  • Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk.
  • Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Missed Dose
  • To prevent liver damage, it is very important to take this medication as directed.
  • If you miss a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist immediately to establish a new dosing schedule.

Drug Interactions
  • Your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them.
  • Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with them first.Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use.

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CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgement of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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