How to Take Acetylcysteine (Mucomyst) 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 contrast dye during your CT scan. Contrast makes the area your doctor is concerned about easier to see in the pictures. If your kidneys don’t work as well as they should, which is known as renal insufficiency, your body may not be able to get rid of the contrast dye. This could make your kidney function worse.

Acetylcysteine (Mucomyst) is a medication that is mostly used for lung conditions. There is evidence that shows that taking acetylcysteine may protect your kidneys from harm caused by contrast dye. 

You will take 4 doses of acetylcysteine, starting the day before your CT scan. The schedule for taking acetylcysteine is located in the “When to Take Acetylcysteine” section at the end of this resource.

Supplies

  • Acetylcysteine
  • 1 pediatric oral syringe
  • 1 (30 mL) medication cup
  • 1 cup of your choice
  • 1 bottle of cola or another drink of your choice

 

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How to Take Acetylcysteine 

Please follow the directions below. If you have any questions about how to take acetylcysteine, call the doctor who prescribed it for you.

Check which solution you have

Acetylcysteine is available in a 100 mg/mL (10%) solution and a 200 mg/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 12 mL of acetylcysteine to get the 1,200 mg dose.
  • If you have a 200 mg/mL solution, you will need to take 6 mL of acetylcysteine to get the 1,200 mg dose. 

Follow the directions below


  1. Open 1 vial of acetylcysteine.

  2. Pour it into a 30 mL medication cup.

  3. Use an oral syringe to draw up the correct amount of acetylcysteine from the medication cup based on the solution you have. 

  4. Pour this amount into the second cup.

  5. In the second cup, mix the acetylcisteine with 4 to 6 ounces of cola or any drink of your choice.

  6. Drink all of it.

  7. Refill the cup with the cola or other drink of your choice.

  8. Drink all of it.

  9. Throw out the rest of the acetylcysteine left in the medication cup. 

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When to Take Acetylcisteine

The day before your CT scan:

  • At 8:00 am, take the first dose of acetylcysteine. 
  • At 8:00 pm, take the second dose of acetylcysteine.

The day of your CT scan:

  • At 8:00 am, take the first dose of acetylcysteine. 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.
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If you have any questions or concerns, talk with a member of your healthcare team. You can reach them Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at ____________________. After 5:00 pm, during the weekend, and on holidays, please call____________________. If there’s no number listed, or you’re not sure, call 212-639-2000.
How to Take Acetylcysteine (Mucomyst) Before Receiving Iodine Contrast Dye
©2015 Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center - Generated on September 3, 2015