Name: Acetadote

Before Using Acetadote

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:


Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.


Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of acetylcysteine injection in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.


No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of acetylcysteine injection in geriatric patients.

Breast Feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Interactions with Medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Carbamazepine
  • Nitroglycerin

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Asthma or
  • Bronchospasm, history of—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.

How is this medicine (Acetadote) best taken?

Use Acetadote as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

  • It is given as an infusion into a vein over a period of time.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Call your doctor to find out what to do.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about Acetadote, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about Acetadote. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using Acetadote.

Review Date: October 4, 2017

Indications and Usage for Acetadote

Acetadote is indicated to prevent or lessen hepatic injury after ingestion of a potentially hepatotoxic quantity of acetaminophen in patients with acute ingestion or from repeated supratherapeutic ingestion (RSI).

Adverse Reactions

Clinical Studies Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

In the literature the most frequently reported adverse reactions attributed to intravenous acetylcysteine administration were rash, urticaria and pruritus. The frequency of adverse reactions has been reported to be between 0.2% and 21%, and they most commonly occur during the initial loading dose of acetylcysteine.

Loading Dose/Infusion Rate Study

In a randomized, open-label, multi-center clinical study conducted in Australia in patients with acetaminophen poisoning, the rates of hypersensitivity reactions between a 15-minute and 60-minute intravenous infusion for the 150 mg/kg loading dose of acetylcysteine were compared.

The incidence of drug-related adverse reactions occurring within the first 2 hours following acetylcysteine administration is presented in Table 5. Overall, 17% of patients developed an acute hypersensitivity reaction (18% in the 15-minute infusion group; 14% in the 60-minute infusion group) [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1), Clinical Studies (14)].

Table 5. Incidence of Drug-Related Adverse Reactions Occurring Within the First 2 Hours Following Study Drug Administration by Preferred Term: Loading Dose/Infusion Rate Study
Treatment Group 15-mins 60-mins


Number of Patients n=109 n=71
Cardiac disorders 5 (5%) 2 (3%)
Severity: Unkn Mild Moderate Severe Unkn Mild Moderate Severe
      Tachycardia NOS 4 (4%) 1 (1%) 2 (3%)
Gastrointestinal disorders 16 (15%) 7 (10%)
Severity: Unkn Mild Moderate Severe Unkn Mild Moderate Severe
      Nausea 1 (1%) 6 (6%) 1 (1%) 1 (1%)
      Vomiting NOS 2 (2%) 11 (10%) 2 (3%) 4 (6%)
Immune System Disorders 20 (18%) 10 (14%)
Severity: Unkn Mild Moderate Severe Unkn Mild Moderate Severe
2 (2%) 6 (6%) 11 (10%) 1 (1%) 4 (6%) 5 (7%) 1 (1%)
Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders 2 (2%) 2 (3%)
Severity: Unkn Mild Moderate Severe Unkn Mild Moderate Severe
      Pharyngitis 1 (1%)
      Rhinorrhea 1 (1%)
      Rhonchi 1 (1%)
      Throat tightness 1 (1%)
Skin & subcutaneous tissue disorders 6 (6%) 5 (7%)
Severity: Unkn Mild Moderate Severe Unkn Mild Moderate Severe
      Pruritus 1 (1%) 2 (3%)
      Rash NOS 3 (3%) 2 (2%) 3 (4%)
Vascular disorders 2 (2%) 3 (4%)
Severity: Unkn Mild Moderate Severe Unkn Mild Moderate Severe
      Flushing 1 (1%) 1 (1%) 2 (3%) 1 (1%)

Safety Study

A large multi-center study was performed in Canada where data were collected from patients who were treated with intravenous acetylcysteine for acetaminophen overdose between 1980 and 2005. This study evaluated 4709 adult cases and 1905 pediatric cases. The incidence of hypersensitivity reactions in adult (overall incidence 8%) and pediatric (overall incidence 10%) patients is presented in Tables 6 and 7.

Table 6. Distribution of reported hypersensitivity reactions in adult patients receiving intravenous acetylcysteine
Incidence (%)
Reaction % of Patients (n=4709)
Urticaria/Facial Flushing 6.1%
Pruritus 4.3%
Respiratory Symptoms* 1.9%
Edema 1.6%
Hypotension 0.1%
Anaphylaxis 0.1%
Table 7. Distribution of reported hypersensitivity reactions in pediatric patients receiving intravenous acetylcysteine

*Respiratory symptoms are defined as presence of any of the following: cough, wheezing, stridor, shortness of breath, chest tightness, respiratory distress, or bronchospasm.

Incidence (%)
Reaction % of Patients (n=1905)
Urticaria/Facial Flushing 7.6%
Pruritus 4.1%
Respiratory Symptoms* 2.2%
Edema 1.2%
Anaphylaxis 0.2%
Hypotension 0.1%

Acetadote - Clinical Pharmacology

Mechanism of Action

Acetylcysteine has been shown to reduce the extent of liver injury following acetaminophen overdose. Acetaminophen doses of 150 mg/kg or greater have been associated with hepatotoxicity. Acetylcysteine probably protects the liver by maintaining or restoring the glutathione levels, or by acting as an alternate substrate for conjugation with, and thus detoxification of, the reactive metabolite of acetaminophen.


After a single intravenous dose of acetylcysteine, the plasma concentration of total acetylcysteine declined in a poly-exponential decay manner with a mean terminal half-life (T1/2) of 5.6 hours. The mean clearance (CL) for acetylcysteine was 0.11 liter/hr/kg and renal CL constituted about 30% of the total CL.


The steady-state volume of distribution (Vdss) following administration of an intravenous dose of acetylcysteine was 0.47 liter/kg. The protein binding of acetylcysteine ranges from 66 to 87%.



Acetylcysteine (i.e., N-acetylcysteine) is postulated to form cysteine and disulfides (N,N-diacetylcysteine and N-acetylcysteine). Cysteine is further metabolized to form glutathione and other metabolites.


After a single oral dose of [35S]-acetylcysteine 100 mg, between 13 to 38% of the total radioactivity administered was recovered in urine within 24 hours. In a separate study, renal clearance was estimated to be approximately 30% of total body clearance.

Specific Populations:

Hepatic Impairment:

Following a 600 mg intravenous dose of acetylcysteine to subjects with mild (Child Pugh Class A, n=1), moderate (Child-Pugh Class B, n=4) or severe (Child-Pugh Class C; n=4) hepatic impairment and 6 healthy matched controls, mean T1/2 increased by 80%. Also, the mean CL decreased by 30% and the systemic acetylcysteine exposure (mean AUC) increased 1.6-fold in subjects with hepatic impairment compared to subjects with normal hepatic function. These changes are not considered to be clinically meaningful.

Renal Impairment

Hemodialysis may remove some of total acetylcysteine.

Clinical Studies

Loading Dose/Infusion Rate Study

A randomized, open-label, multi-center clinical study was conducted in Australia in patients with acetaminophen poisoning to compare the rates of hypersensitivity reactions between two rates of infusion for the intravenous acetylcysteine loading dose. One hundred nine subjects were randomized to a 15-minute infusion rate and seventy-one subjects were randomized to a 60 minute infusion rate. The loading dose was 150 mg/kg followed by a maintenance dose of 50 mg/kg over 4 hours and then 100 mg/kg over 16 hours. Of the 180 patients, 27% were male and 73% were female. Ages ranged from 15 to 83 years, with the mean age being 30 years (±13.0).

A subgroup of 58 subjects (33 in the 15-minute infusion group; 25 in the 60-minute infusion group) was treated within 8 hours of acetaminophen ingestion. No hepatotoxicity occurred within this subgroup; however, with 95% confidence, the true hepatotoxicity rates could range from 0% to 9% for the 15-minute infusion group and from 0% to 12% for the 60-minute infusion group.

Observational Study

An open-label, observational database contained information on 1749 patients who sought treatment for acetaminophen overdose over a 16-year period. Of the 1749 patients, 65% were female, 34% were male and less than 1% was transgender. Ages ranged from 2 months to 96 years, with 72% of the patients falling in the 16- to 40-year-old age bracket. A total of 399 patients received acetylcysteine treatment. A post-hoc analysis identified 56 patients who (1) were at high or probable risk for hepatotoxicity (APAP greater than 150 mg/L at the four hours line according to the Australian nomogram) and (2) had a liver function test. Of the 53 patients who were treated with intravenous acetylcysteine (300 mg/kg intravenous acetylcysteine administered over 20-21 hours) within 8 hours, two (4%) developed hepatotoxicity (AST or ALT greater than 1000 U/L). Twenty-one of 48 (44%) patients treated with acetylcysteine after 15 hours developed hepatotoxicity. The actual number of hepatotoxicity outcomes may be higher than what is reported here. For patients with multiple admissions for acetaminophen overdose, only the first overdose treated with intravenous acetylcysteine was examined. Hepatotoxicity may have occurred in subsequent admissions.

Evaluable data were available from a total of 148 pediatric patients (less than 16 years of age) who were admitted for poisoning following ingestion of acetaminophen, of whom 23 were treated with intravenous acetylcysteine. There were no deaths of pediatric patients. None of the pediatric patients receiving intravenous acetylcysteine developed hepatotoxicity while two patients not receiving intravenous acetylcysteine developed hepatotoxicity. The number of pediatric patients is too small to provide a statistically significant finding of efficacy; however the results appear to be consistent to those observed for adults.





Obtain serum acetaminophen concentration at least 4 hr postingestion to determine if toxic levels present before treatment or whether full course necessary

IV used if persistent vomiting precludes PO administration in 1st 8 hr

Consult local regional PCC or medical toxicologist for assistance

IV may cause severe anaphylactic reactions, however, new 2011 IV formulation (replaces the original 2004 IV formulation) does not contain ethylene diamine tetracetic acid or any other stabilization and chelating agents and is free of preservatives

Serious acute hypersensitivity reactions during acetylcysteine administration including rash, hypotension, wheezing, and/or shortness of breath reported in patients receiving intravenous acetylcysteine for acetaminophen overdose; occurred soon after initiation

Total volume administered should be adjusted for patients <40 kg and for those requiring fluid restriction; to avoid fluid overload, volume of diluent should be reduced as needed; if volume not adjusted fluid overload can occur, potentially resulting in hyponatremia, seizure and death


Single intravenous doses of acetylcysteine at 1000 mg/kg in mice, 2445 mg/kg in rats, 1500 mg/kg in guinea pigs, 1200 mg/kg in rabbits and 500 mg/kg in dogs were lethal. Symptoms of acute toxicity were ataxia, hypoactivity, labored respiration, cyanosis, loss of righting reflex and convulsions.

What is Acetadote

Acetadote is the first injectable treatment for acetaminophen overdose available in the United States.

Source: Cumberland Pharmaceuticals