Adult Medication

Brand Names: US

Acetadote; Cetylev

Brand Names: Canada

Acetylcysteine Injection; Acetylcysteine Solution; Mucomyst; Parvolex

What is this drug used for?

  • It is used to treat acetaminophen overdose.
  • It is used to thin mucus so it can be taken from the body by coughing.
  • It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take this drug?

  • If you have an allergy to acetylcysteine or any other part of this drug.
  • If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
This drug 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 this drug 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 this drug?

All products:

  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take this drug. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using this drug while you are pregnant.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.

Effervescent tablets:

  • If you are on a low-salt or salt-free diet, talk with your doctor.

Liquid and injection:

  • The drug may change color when the bottle is opened.
  • There may be a bad odor to this drug. This most often goes away fast.


  • Very bad and sometimes deadly allergic reactions have rarely happened. Talk with your doctor.
  • If you weigh less than 88 pounds (40 kilograms) or you have to watch how much fluid you take in, talk with your doctor. The chance of too much fluid in the body may be raised with this drug. Too much fluid in the body could lead to low blood sodium levels, seizures, and death.

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:

All products:

  • 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 or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Shortness of breath.

All oral products:

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


  • Very bad dizziness or passing out.

What are some other side effects of this drug?

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:

All products:

  • Upset stomach or throwing up.

Liquid for breathing in:

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


  • Flushing.
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 your national health agency.

How is this drug best taken?

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

Liquid for breathing in:

  • For breathing in only as a liquid (solution) by a special machine (nebulizer) into the lungs.
  • If this drug 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.

Oral liquid:

  • Mix with diet soda and drink.
  • Drink lots of noncaffeine liquids unless told to drink less liquid by your doctor.
  • If you throw up within 1 hour of taking this drug, take 1 more dose.

Effervescent tablets:

  • Melt the tablet(s) in water as you have been told by the doctor. Do not swallow the tablet(s) whole.
  • Drink within 2 hours of mixing.
  • Those who have feeding tubes may use this drug. Use as you have been told. Flush the feeding tube after this drug is given.
  • If you throw up within 1 hour of taking this drug, take 1 more dose.


  • It is given as an infusion into a vein over a period of time.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

Liquid and effervescent tablets:

  • Use 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 use 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.


  • Call your doctor to find out what to do.

How do I store and/or throw out this drug?


  • Store unopened vials at room temperature.
  • Store opened vials in a refrigerator. Throw away any part not used after 4 days.
  • Protect from light.

Effervescent tablets:

  • Store in the original container at room temperature.


  • If you need to store this drug at home, talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about how to store it.

All products:

  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.

General drug facts

  • 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.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, 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.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Last Reviewed Date



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