Pharmacology Cough & Allergy #1

Question

What are the therapeutic uses of acetylcysteine? Select all that apply.

Answers

  1. Decreases inflammation during an acute asthma attack
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because acetylcysteine does not decrease inflammation but it is an expectorant that thins mucus and makes it able to be coughed up and eliminated. During an asthma attack, the priority is medication is bronchodilation, then a corticosteroid should be given to decrease inflammation.

  2. Protects the liver when contrast is used during a heart catheterization
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because acetylcysteine is given to protect the kidneys (not liver) when IV contrast dye is given during a heart catheterization. This medication is generally given prior to the procedure.

  3. Used as an antidote for acetaminophen overdose
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because acetylcysteine is used during the emergent situation of an acetaminophen overdose. This antidote also protects the kidneys and liver during this event. When this is administered orally, the medication is given in a cola and placed under the fluid line to improve the smell and taste. Otherwise, it is given by nasogastric tube or IV,

  4. Helps thin thick mucus associated with cystic fibrosis
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because acetylcysteine is used to help thin mucus in the serious condition, cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis is an inherited condition in which various ducts, tubes, and passages get clogged up by thick, sticky mucus. Acetylcysteine is used to help thin up those secretions to decrease complications caused by the thick, sticky mucus.

  5. Reverses risk of bleeding in acetylsalicylic acid overdose
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because acetylcysteine is not effective for acetylsalicylic acid overdose. It is used as an antidote for acetaminophen overdose.

Overview

Acetylcysteine is a cough expectorant used to thin mucus for serious conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, used as the antidote for acetaminophen overdose, and used to protect the kidneys since IV contrast dye is used during a heart catheterization.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Acetylcysteine has several therapeutic uses. It is used as a cough expectorant to thin mucus and make it able to be coughed up and eliminated. It is also used as an antidote for acetaminophen overdose. It protects the kidneys during this situation. Furthermore, it is given to protect the client’s kidneys during administration of IV contrast dye given during cardiac catheterization. Acetylcysteine has a distinguishing sulfur smell that is hard to ignore as a unique characteristic of the medication.

Test Taking Tip

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