The Use of N-Acetylcysteine in Respiratory Diseases
Theodore K. Marras.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC), the N-acetyl derivative of the amino acid cysteine, is perhaps best known for its wide
use in the treatment of acetaminophen (paracetamol) toxicity, but it has been investigated for the treatment of myriad
conditions. In this article we will review the uses of NAC in pulmonary diseases, the mechanism of action dosing, side
effect profile and clinical implications in regard to COPD and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. One of the main targets of
NAC is Inflammation and oxidative stress that are important factors in the pathogenesis of many chronic inflammatory
lung disorders. While it is logical to conclude that the administration of antioxidants such as NAC will provide a mode of
treatment for said conditions by targeting antioxidant-oxidant imbalance  and although the theory supporting the use of
antioxidants is sound, it may not necessarily translate into clinical benefit. Based on the available evidence it is unlikely
that mucolytics such as NAC will drastically affect symptoms, exacerbations or disease modification in COPD.
Keywords: Interstitial lung diseases, N-Acetylcysteine, pulmonary diseases, side effects.
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