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Protecting Your Kidneys Before Receiving Iodine Contrast Dye

This information describes how to take a medication called acetylcysteine (Mucomyst®) to protect your kidneys before your computed tomography (CT) scan.

You will be receiving a contrast dye during your CT scan. Contrast makes the area your doctor is concerned about stand out better in the pictures. If your kidneys don't work as well as they should, known as renal insufficiency, you may have a higher risk of having a reaction to the contrast dye. This reaction could make your kidney problems worse. In most cases, the reaction will go away, but it's best to prevent it from happening.

Acetylcysteine (Mucomyst®) is a medication that is mostly used for lung conditions. It has been found to possibly protect the kidneys in patients who have renal insufficiency and are receiving contrast dye. You will take 4 doses of acetylcysteine (Mucomyst®), starting the day before your CT scan.

What You Will Need

  • Acetylcysteine (Mucomyst®)
  • 1 pediatric oral syringe
  • 2 (30 mL) medication cups
  • 1 bottle of cola or another drink of your choice

How to Take Acetylcysteine (Mucomyst®)

Please follow the instructions below. If you have any questions about how to take acetylcysteine (Mucomyst®), call the doctor who prescribed it for you.

Check which solution you have

Acetylcysteine (Mucomyst®) is available in a 100mg/mL (10%) solution and a 200mg/mL (20%) solution. If you're not sure which one you have, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor.

  • If you have a 100 mg/mL solution, you will need to take 6 mL of acetylcysteine (Mucomyst®)
  • If you have a 200 mg/mL solution, you will need to take 3 mL of acetylcysteine (Mucomyst®)

Follow the directions below

  1. Open 1 vial of acetylcysteine (Mucomyst®).
  2. Pour it into a 30 mL medication cup.
  3. Use an oral syringe to draw up the correct amount of acetylcysteine (Mucomyst®) based on the solution you have. Pour this amount into a second 30 mL medication cup.
  4. Fill the cup with cola or another drink of your choice.
  5. Drink all of it.
  6. Refill the cup with the cola or other drink of your choice.
  7. Drink all of it. This is to make sure you have gotten all of the medication.

Follow the schedule below

The day before your CT scan:

  • At 8:00 am, take the first dose of acetylcysteine (Mucomyst®) with cola or another drink of your choice.
  • At 8:00 pm, take the second dose of acetylcysteine (Mucomyst®) with cola or another drink of your choice.

The day of your CT scan:

  • At 8:00 am, take the first dose of acetylcysteine (Mucomyst®) with cola or another drink of your choice. If your CT scan is at 8:00 am, take the first dose at 6:00 am.
  • At 8:00 pm, take the second dose of acetylcysteine (Mucomyst®) with cola or another drink of your choice.