• What type of medicine is this?

    • Acetylcysteine is a type of drug used as an antidote and a drug used to break down thick mucus in the organs that help you breathe. It is only given to you when your healthcare provider prescribes it.

      Acetylcysteine is commonly used to treat two conditions. These are:

      • When you take large amounts of paracetamol either deliberately or not, it becomes harmful to your body.
      • When you have diseases that make you produce excess mucus, which blocks your lungs. Some of these diseases include pneumonia. Your healthcare provider can also prescribe it (if you have a tube in your neck that helps you breathe) to clear mucus from the tube.

    • What is the medicine used for?

    • Acetylcysteine is a medicine that corrects the effects of taking large amounts of paracetamol. It is also breaks down thick mucus that blocks your lungs when you have diseases like pneumonia. This medicine requires a prescription from your healthcare provider before you can receive it.

    • How to take this medicine?

      • Acetylcysteine is taken by mouth as tablets or injected directly into your blood by a healthcare provider to treat paracetamol overdose. However, to loosen thick mucus from your airway, you would be told to breathe this drug in through a facemask that is connected to a machine that turns it into vapour.
      • If you skip a dose, take it as soon as you remember but if you remember at a time close to your next dose, then take only the next dose.
      • Do not stop taking this medicine without telling your healthcare provider first. Doing this can make your symptoms worse.
      • If you take more of this medicine than was prescribed for you, go to the nearest health center (with the remaining medicine) and report the overdose.

    • What are the side-effects?

    • You may experience mildly uncomfortable effects of this medicine. They will usually go away within a few days. You should mention these or other uncomfortable effects to your healthcare provider, especially if it stays longer than a week. Here are examples of some common side effect you may experience:

      • Your body may be hot.
      • You may feel like vomiting and vomit.
      • You may feel sleepy more often.
      • You may feel your skin go cold.
      • You may cough more to remove the loosened mucus from your throat.

      If it doesn’t resolve within three days, make sure you report to your healthcare provider. If you experience severe side effects like difficulty breathing and feeling like your chest is tight, you must go to the health centre closest to you immediately.

    • What to know before taking this medicine?

    • It is important that you inform your healthcare provider if you have any disease condition that affects the organs that help you digest food like stomach ulcers and disease conditions like asthma. This will help them check your risk for any severe unpleasant effects.

      • Do not take acetylcysteine if you have had a drug reaction to it before, like a rash that went away when you stopped taking it.
      • Tell your healthcare provider if you have had another drug reaction before, even if they are unrelated to this one.
      • If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, do not take this medicine.