N-Acetylcysteine: Multiple Clinical Applications

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N-Acetylcysteine: Multiple Clinical Applications

PAUL J. MILLEA, MD, MA, Department of Integrative Medicine, Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, P.C., Falls Church, VirginiaAm Fam Physician.?2009?Aug?1;80(3):265-269.

N-acetylcysteine is the acetylated variant of the amino acid L-cysteine and is widely used as the specific antidote for acetaminophen overdose. Other applications for N-acetylcysteine supplementation supported by scientific evidence include prevention of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbation, prevention of contrast-induced kidney damage during imaging procedures, attenuation of illness from the influenza virus when started before infection, treatment of pulmonary fibrosis, and treatment of infertility in patients with clomiphene-resistant polycystic ovary syndrome. Preliminary studies suggest that N-acetylcysteine may also have a role as a cancer chemopreventive, an adjunct in the eradication of Helicobacter pylori, and prophylaxis of gentamicin-induced hearing loss in patients on renal dialysis.