Altern Med Rev. 2000 Oct;5(5):467-71.


N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is the acetylated precursor of both the amino acid L-cysteine and reduced glutathione (GSH). Historically it has been used as a mucolytic agent in chronic respiratory illnesses as well as an antidote for hepatotoxicity due to acetaminophen overdose. More recently, animal and human studies of NAC have shown it to be a powerful antioxidant and a potential therapeutic agent in the treatment of cancer, heart disease, HIV infection, heavy metal toxicity, and other diseases characterized by free radical oxidant damage. NAC has also been shown to be of some value in treating Sjogren's syndrome, smoking cessation, influenza, hepatitis C, and myoclonus epilepsy.

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / poisoning
  • Acetylcysteine / adverse effects
  • Acetylcysteine / pharmacokinetics
  • Acetylcysteine / pharmacology
  • Acetylcysteine / therapeutic use*
  • Antidotes / therapeutic use
  • Expectorants / therapeutic use
  • Heart Diseases / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / drug therapy


  • Antidotes
  • Expectorants
  • Acetaminophen
  • Acetylcysteine