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Acute flushing and erythema of the skin may occur in patients receiving acetylcysteine intravenously. These reactions usually occur 30 to 60 minutes after initiating the infusion and often resolve spontaneously despite continued infusion of acetylcysteine. Anaphylactoid reactions (defined as the occurrence of an acute hypersensitivity reaction during acetylcysteine administration including rash, hypotension, wheezing, and/or shortness of breath) have been observed in patients receiving I.V. acetylcysteine for acetaminophen overdose and occurred soon after initiation of the infusion [see ADVERSE REACTIONS]. If a reaction to acetylcysteine involves more than simply flushing and erythema of the skin, it should be treated as an anaphylactoid reaction. This usually entails administering antihistaminic drugs and in severe cases may require administration of epinephrine. In addition, the acetylcysteine infusion may be interrupted until treatment of the anaphylactoid symptoms has been initiated and then carefully restarted. If the anaphylactoid reaction returns upon reinitiation of treatment or increases in severity, intravenous acetylcysteine should be discontinued and alternative patient management should be considered.
Monitoring patients with asthma
Acetadote (acetylcysteine injection) should be used with caution in patients with asthma, or where there is a history of bronchospasm.
Volume Adjustment: Patients < 40kg and Requiring Fluid Restriction
The total volume administered should be adjusted for patients less than 40 kg and for those requiring fluid restriction. To avoid fluid overload, the volume of 5% dextrose should be reduced as needed [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. If volume is not adjusted fluid overload can occur, potentially resulting in hyponatremia, seizure, and death.
For specific treatment information regarding the clinical management of acetaminophen overdose, please contact your regional poison center at 1-800-222-1222, or alternatively, a special health professional assistance line for acetaminophen overdose at 1-800-525-6115.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Long-term studies in animals have not been performed to evaluate the carcinogenic potential of acetylcysteine.
Treatment of male rats with acetylcysteine at an oral dose of 250 mg/kg/day for 15 weeks (0.8 times the recommended human dose of 300 mg/kg) did not affect the fertility or general reproductive performance.
Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology
Reproduction studies were performed in rats at oral doses up to 2000 mg/kg/day (6.7 times the recommended human dose of 300 mg/kg) and in rabbits at oral doses up to 1000 mg/kg/day (3.3 times the recommended human dose of 300 mg/kg) and revealed no evidence of impaired fertility or harm to the fetus due to acetylcysteine [see Pregnancy].
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category B
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of Acetadote (acetylcysteine injection) in pregnant women. However, limited case reports of pregnant women exposed to acetylcysteine during various trimesters did not report any adverse maternal, fetal, or neonatal outcomes.
There are published reports on four pregnant women with acetaminophen toxicity, who were treated with oral or intravenous acetylcysteine at the time of delivery. Acetylcysteine crossed the placenta and was measurable following delivery in serum and cord blood of three viable infants and in cardiac blood of a fourth infant at autopsy (22 weeks gestational age who died 3 hours after birth). No adverse sequelae developed in the three viable infants. All mothers recovered and none of the infants had evidence of acetaminophen poisoning.
Reproductive and developmental toxicity studies performed in rats at oral doses up to 6.7 times the recommended human intravenous dose and in rabbits at doses up to 3.3 times the recommended human intravenous dose revealed no evidence of impaired fertility or embryofetal toxicity. [see Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology]
It is not known whether Acetadote (acetylcysteine injection) is present in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when acetylcysteine is administered to a nursing woman. Based on the pharmacokinetics of acetylcysteine, it should be nearly completely cleared 30 hours after administration. Nursing women may consider resuming nursing 30 hours after administration.
No adverse effects were noted during I.V. infusion with acetylcysteine at a mean rate of 4.2 mg/kg/h for 24 hours to 10 preterm newborns ranging in gestational age from 25 to 31 weeks and in weight from 500 to 1380 grams in one study or in 6 newborns ranging in gestational age from 26 to 30 weeks and in weight from 520 to 1335 grams infused with acetylcysteine at 0.1 to 1.3 mg/kg/h for 6 days. Elimination of acetylcysteine was slower in these infants than in adults; mean elimination half-life was 11 hours. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pediatric patients.
The clinical studies do not provide a sufficient number of geriatric subjects to determine whether the elderly respond differently.
Last reviewed on RxList: 6/24/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Acetadote Information
- Acetadote Drug Interactions Center: acetylcysteine iv
- Acetadote Side Effects Center
- Acetadote FDA Approved Prescribing Information including Dosage
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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