N-acetylcysteine in Acute Organophosphorus Pesticide Poisoning: A Randomized, Clinical Trial

Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2016 Aug;119(2):222-7. doi: 10.1111/bcpt.12554. Epub 2016 Feb 5.


Organophosphorus poisoning is a major global health problem with hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. Research interest in N-acetylcysteine has grown among increasing evidence of the role of oxidative stress in organophosphorus poisoning. We aimed to assess the safety and efficacy of N-acetylcysteine as an adjuvant treatment in patients with acute organophosphorus poisoning. This was a randomized, controlled, parallel-group trial on 30 patients suffering from acute organophosphorus poisoning, who were admitted to the Poison Control Center of Tanta University Emergency Hospital, Tanta, Egypt, between April and September 2014. Interventions included oral N-acetylcysteine (600 mg three times daily for 3 days) as an added treatment to the conventional measures versus only the conventional treatment. Outcome measures included mortality, total dose of atropine administered, duration of hospitalization and the need for ICU admission and/or mechanical ventilation. A total of 46 patients were screened and 30 were randomized. No significant difference was found between both groups regarding demographic characteristics and the nature or severity of baseline clinical manifestations. No major adverse effects to N-acetylcysteine therapy were reported. Malondialdehyde significantly decreased and reduced glutathione significantly increased only in the NAC-treated patients. The patients on NAC therapy required less atropine doses than those who received only the conventional treatment; however, the length of hospital stay showed no significant difference between both groups. The study concluded that the use of N-acetylcysteine as an added treatment was apparently safe, and it reduced atropine requirements in patients with acute organophosphorus pesticide poisoning.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcysteine / therapeutic use*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Atropine / therapeutic use
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Egypt
  • Female
  • Glutathione / blood
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Organophosphate Poisoning / drug therapy*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Pesticides / poisoning*
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Pesticides
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Atropine
  • Glutathione
  • Acetylcysteine