Uses of N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)

NAC is a medication with multiple FDA-approved applications. An antioxidant that may help prevent cancer is N-acetyl cysteine. Healthcare professionals use it as a medication to treat acetaminophen (Tylenol) toxicity. It functions by binding the paracetamol that the liver produces in toxic forms. 

N-acetyl cysteine is frequently used by people to treat cough and other respiratory ailments. It is also used to treat a variety of other ailments, including the flu and dry eyes, however many of these claims lack solid scientific backing. Moreover, there is insufficient data to recommend N-acetyl cysteine treatment for COVID-19. 

N-acetyl cysteine is found in many dietary supplement products, but because it is technically an approved medicine, the US FDA has declared that it is prohibited for dietary supplements to contain N-acetyl cysteine. However, as of August 2022, the FDA is thinking about reversing this position. As long as there are no safety concerns, it might permit N-acetyl cysteine in dietary supplements. A final judgment is still pending. N-acetyl cysteine prescription products can be obtained with a doctor’s supervision.

It is efficient for multiple conditions

Poisoning from acetaminophen (Tylenol): Prescription N-acetyl cysteine taken orally or intravenously lowers the risk of death and prevents long-term damage from paracetamol toxicity. A healthcare professional is required to administer prescription products. 

Lung collapse, partial or complete (atelectasis): A prescription version of N-acetyl cysteine can be inhaled to treat mucus blockage-induced collapsed lungs. A healthcare professional is legally capable of administering prescription products. 

Lung examinations: N-acetyl cysteine, available by prescription, can be inhaled to help patients get ready for diagnostic lung exams. 

Care for patients who have a tracheostomy, or tube inserted into their windpipe: For those using a windpipe tube, inhaling a prescription version of N-acetyl cysteine helps avoid crusting. It can only be administered by a licensed healthcare professional. 

Potentially Beneficial for Angina (chest pain): When used alongside the medication nitroglycerin, N-acetyl cysteine administered orally or intravenously (IV) appears to reduce chest discomfort. While intravenous N-acetyl cysteine administration appears to help avoid nitroglycerin tolerance, it may potentially raise the risk of low blood pressure and headaches. If you have a question about whether can high blood pressure individual take acetylcysteine drug (nac ความดันสูงกินได้ไหม, term in Thai)?, remember that only medical professionals are authorized to administer IV products. 

Autism: Oral N-acetyl cysteine supplementation may reduce irritability in autistic children and adolescents. Other symptoms of autism seem to be unaffected by it, though. 

Inflammation (swelling) of the lung’s major airways (bronchitis): N-acetyl cysteine taken orally appears to lessen coughing and dyspnea associated with this illness. Additionally, taking N-acetyl cysteine orally for three to six months appears to stop flare-ups. 

Breathing difficulties caused by a lung condition called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): For patients with moderate to severe COPD, using N-acetyl cysteine orally for at least six months appears to reduce flare-ups by approximately 40%. Those who are not currently taking corticosteroids appear to benefit from it the most. When combined with regular medication, N-acetyl cysteine aids in the recovery of hospitalized COPD patients. 

Dye-induced kidney injury (contrast-induced nephropathy): Oral N-acetyl cysteine, with or without other medications, may help avoid renal issues brought on by dyes used in some X-ray examinations. However, it only appears to be beneficial for those with impaired kidney function already.