What Is Acetylcysteine? What Is Its Mechanism of Action?

According to WHO, one of the most essential drugs which are quite effective and safe is the NAC (N-Acetylcysteine). Adopted almost 60 years ago, it is a part of a mucolytic group that is useful to treat many lung diseases and the intoxication of paracetamol. It is one of the best antioxidants which is used during studies or experiments on animal biology as well as clinical studies. Apart from this, it has also been found useful for neurological disorders as well as the most recent disease the Coronavirus.

Acetylcysteine is very much effective for mucolytic treatment as well as in the management of overdosing on acetaminophen. It has to be used within the duration of every 1-8 hours as it has a short duration life span. But this will all depend on your route of administration and the therapeutic method used. One thing to be careful about is diluting the oral solutions in the cola for better taste. This might cause hypersensitivity and upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage.

Buying this drug only with a doctor’s prescription is recommended. It is also important that you buy it from a well and reputed company like S M Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd. It is one of the leading Thai pharmaceutical companies. They are all running the business in a socially responsible manner to make changes in everyone’s life.

All of us need to understand the different mechanisms behind acetylcysteine (acetylcysteine กลไก, term in Thai) action. SO here in this article, we will highlight on this

  • There are various mechanisms for the mucolytic activity of acetylcysteine. It is one radical-free, expectorant detoxifying or dissolving drug which treats diseases or many disorders and has very few side effects. Studies have shown that this drug has a detoxifying effect that can remove all the free radicals, which are around 1200 mg/ day.
  • The sulfhydryl group, which is present in it may hydrolyze the disulfide bonds present in the mucus, thus breaking its oligomers and making it less viscous. It is an antioxidant itself but it is also deacetylating the cysteine which is part of the synthesis of the antioxidant glutathione.
  • The antioxidant activity of acetylcysteine also has the potential to alter intracellular redox reactions. In turn, it decreases the phosphorylation of EGFR and MAPK and suppresses the expression of the MUC5AC gene (it is the one that produces mucin).
  • In case of where there is an overdose of acetaminophen, a small portion of this drug gets metabolized by CYP2E1 and it forms a most toxic metabolite called the N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine (NAPQI). This in turn causes the depletion of glutathione stores. The free NAPQI present then gets bonded with hepatocytes which are free proteins that in turn cause cellular necrosis.
  • Here Acetylcysteine when used then binds with the NAPQI or provides cysteine to increase the production of glutathione

The most common examples of these drugs include Fluimucil which is an important drug for treating any lung-related diseases.

The most common side-effects that can be seen with overdosing on this drug include nausea, vomiting, hypotension, bronchospasm, etc. Hence it is advisable to take a doctor’s advice before consuming it. If any symptoms are found then you need to contact your physician immediately.