Monday, March 27, 2017
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N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine

N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine is  Available OTC or by Prescription in the United States.

Addictive Potential: None

Emergency Room Visits Yearly: No recorded hospital visits

Mandatory Minimum Sentence: None

Mechanism of Action: ??

Overview:

Acetylcysteine, also known as N-acetylcysteine or N-acetyl-L-cysteine (abbreviated NAC), is a pharmaceutical drug used mainly as a mucolytic agent and in the management of paracetamol (acetaminophen) overdose.

Acetylcysteine is available in different dosage forms for different indications:

  • Solution for inhalation (Mucomyst, Mucosil) – inhaled for mucolytic therapy or ingested for nephroprotective effect (to protect the kidneys)
  • IV injection (Parvolex, Acetadote) – treatment of paracetamol/acetaminophen overdose
  • Oral solution – various indications.
  • Effervescent Tablets (200 mg) – Reolin (Hochland Pharma Germany) and Mucinac (Cipla India).
  • Ocular solution – for mucolytic therapy
  • The IV injection and inhalation preparations are, in general, prescription only, whereas the oral solution and the effervescent tablets are available over the counter in many countrie

Other Uses:

  • NAC has been shown to reduce the symptoms of both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in two placebo controlled trials.
  • Evidence that NAC and other antioxidants can exert beneficial effects on pancreatic b-cell function in diabetes was published in a 1999 study. The authors conclude that a sufficient supply of antioxidants (NAC, vitamin C plus vitamin E, or both) may prevent or delay b-cell dysfunction in diabetes by providing protection against glucose toxicity.
  • NAC is undergoing clinical trials in the United States for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is thought to counteract the glutamate hyperactivity in OCD.
  • NAC has been shown to reduce cravings associated with chronic cocaine use in a study conducted at the Medical University of South Carolina.
  • It may reduce the incidence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations.
  • In the treatment of AIDS, NAC has been shown to cause a “marked increase in immunological functions and plasma albumin concentrations”. Albumin concentration are inversely correlated with muscle wasting (cachexia), a condition associated with AIDS.
  • An animal study indicates that acetylcysteine may decrease mortality associated with influenza.
  • There are claims that acetylcysteine taken together with vitamin C and B1 can be used to prevent and relieve symptoms of veisalgia (hangover following ethanol (alcohol) consumption). The claimed mechanism is through scavenging of acetaldehyde, a toxic intermediate in the metabolism of ethanol.
  • It has been shown to help women with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) to reduce insulin problems and possibly improve fertility.

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