Acetylcysteine inhalation : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More
Why is this medication prescribed?
Acetylcysteine inhalation is used in conjunction with other treatments to relieve chest congestion due to thick or abnormal mucous secretions in people with lung conditions, such as asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, and cystic fibrosis (a congenital disease that causes breathing problems, digestion and reproduction). Acetylcysteine belongs to a class of medications called mucolytic agents. It works by thinning mucus in the airways to make it easier to cough up the mucus and clear the airways.
How should this medicine be used?
Acetylcysteine comes as a solution (liquid) and a concentrated solution for inhalation by mouth using a nebulizer (a machine that turns medicine into an inhalable mist). When using a nebulizer, it is generally used 3-4 times a day. When administered by other methods, acetylcysteine should be used as directed. Use acetylcysteine at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use acetylcysteine exactly as directed. Do not use more or less or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor. Only mix acetylcysteine with other medications if your doctor tells you to.
The concentrated acetylcysteine solution should be mixed with normal saline or sterile water and used within one hour.
There may be a slight unpleasant odor when you use acetylcysteine that goes away quickly. In an open acetylcysteine bottle, there may be a color change to light purple, but it will not affect its use.
Acetylcysteine should only be used with plastic or glass nebulizers. Acetylcysteine should not be used routinely in a manual bulb operated nebulizer or directly in a heated nebulizer. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the correct nebulizer to use with acetylcysteine.
Clean your nebulizer immediately after each use. If you do not clean your nebulizer properly, the nebulizer may clog and not allow the medicine to be inhaled. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about cleaning your nebulizer.
Other uses for this medicine
Acetylcysteine is also sometimes used to treat people who have taken or received an overdose of acetaminophen (Tylenol, others). Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before using acetylcysteine,
Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to acetylcysteine, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in acetylcysteine inhalation. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take.
Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had asthma.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using acetylcysteine, call your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not use a double dose to make up for a missed dose.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Acetylcysteine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- swelling of the inside of the mouth
- throat irritation
- cool, moist skin
- runny nose
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- chest tightness
- coughing up blood
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
Acetylcysteine inhalation can cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medicine.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor can submit an online report to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medicine in its container, tightly closed and out of the reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). After opening, keep this medicine in the refrigerator and discard any unused medicine after 96 hours.
Unnecessary medications must be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and others cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to get rid of your medication is through a medication take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage / recycling department for information on return programs in your community. See the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medications out of the sight and reach of children, as many containers (such as those for taking pills weekly and those used for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not resistant to children and children. young children can easily open them. To protect young children from poisoning, always close the safety caps and immediately put the medicine in a safe place – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all your appointments with your doctor.
Do not allow anyone to use your medicine. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important that you keep a written list of all prescription and over-the-counter (non-prescription) medications you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should carry this list with you every time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to take with you in emergencies.