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The eMC  

Last Updated 01 Oct 2012

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Acetylcysteine 5% eye drops

Acetylcysteine (Ass-et-ile-sis-teen) is a medicine which is used in relieving dry eyes and treating paracetamol overdose.

The information in this Medicine Guide for Acetylcysteine varies according to the condition being treated and the particular preparation used.

Acetylcysteine 5% eye drops

Information specific to Acetylcysteine 5% eye drops when used in relieving dry eyes

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Your medicine

Acetylcysteine eye drops help to lubricate the eye and reduce the thickness and stickiness of the mucus that the eye produces.

Other information about Acetylcysteine:

Do not share your medicine with other people. It may not be suitable for them and may harm them.

The pharmacy label on your medicine tells you how much medicine you should use. It also tells you how often you should use your medicine. This is the dose that you and your prescriber have agreed you should use. You should not change the dose of your medicine unless you are told to do so by your prescriber.

If you feel that the medicine is making you unwell or you do not think it is working, then talk to your prescriber.

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When to take your medicine

Some medicines work best if they are taken at a specific time of day. Getting the most from your medicine can also be affected by the times at which you take other medicines.

Specific information on when to use Acetylcysteine can be found in the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with this medicine. Alternatively, you can request information about when to take your medicine from your doctor or pharmacist.

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How to take your medicine

Some medicines have specific instructions about how to take them. This is because they work better when taken correctly. These instructions can include getting the right dose and special instructions for preparing the medicine.

Specific information on how to use Acetylcysteine can be found in the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with this medicine or on the medicine label. Alternatively, you can request information about how to take your medicine from your doctor or pharmacist.

If you are having problems taking this form of Acetylcysteine, you should talk to your prescriber or pharmacist. They may be able to give you advice on other ways to take your medicine or other preparations that are easier for you to take.

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Taking too much of your medicine

Taking extra doses of some medicines can be harmful. In some cases even one extra dose can cause you problems. If you take extra doses of your medicine, you must get medical advice immediately. This is because the effects of taking too much medicine are very complex so it is very important that you seek medical advice.

Contact your prescriber, pharmacist, specialist clinic or call 111 for advice.

Make sure you take all of your medicine containers with you if you are advised to go to hospital.

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Stopping your medicine

Suddenly stopping your medicine may cause your original condition to return. This is why you must speak to your prescriber if you are having any problems using your medicine.

If you are not having any problems taking this medicine then do not stop using it, even if you feel better, unless advised to do so by your prescriber.

If you are in any doubt, contact your prescriber, pharmacist, specialist clinic or call 111.

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Looking after your medicine

The instructions on how you should keep your medicine are on the pharmacy label. It is a good idea to keep your medicine in the original container. This will help to keep your medicine in the best condition and also allow you to check the instructions. Do not take the medicine if the packaging appears to have been tampered with or if the medicine shows any signs of damage. Make sure that the medicine is out of the sight and reach of children.

Specific information on how to look after Acetylcysteine can be found in the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with this medicine or on the medicine label. Alternatively, you can request information about how to look after your medicine from your doctor or pharmacist.

You must not take the medicine after the expiry date shown on the packaging. If you have any unused medicine, return it to your pharmacist who will dispose of it safely.

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Whether this medicine is suitable for you

Acetylcysteine is not suitable for everyone and some people should never use it. Other people should only use it with special care. It is important that the person prescribing this medicine knows your full medical history.

Your prescriber may only prescribe this medicine with special care or may not prescribe it at all if you:

Over time it is possible that Acetylcysteine can become unsuitable for some people, or they may become unsuitable for it. If at any time it appears that Acetylcysteine has become unsuitable, it is important that the prescriber is contacted immediately.

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Side-effects

A medicine is only made available to the public if the clinical trials have shown that the benefits of taking the medicine outweigh the risks.

Once a medicine has been licensed, information on the medicine's effects, both intended and unintended, is continuously recorded and updated.

Some side-effects may be serious while others may only be a mild inconvenience.

Everyone's reaction to a medicine is different. It is difficult to predict which side-effects you will have from taking a particular medicine, or whether you will have any side-effects at all. The important thing is to tell your prescriber or pharmacist if you are having problems with your medicine.

The frequency of these side-effects is unknown:

  • blurred vision
  • irritation, discomfort or redness in the eye - if these symptoms do not improve or if you have them before treatment and they get worse during treatment you should seek medical advice
  • itching of the eye

If you feel unwell or if you have concerns about a side-effect, you will need to seek advice. If you feel very ill, get medical help straight away. Contact your prescriber, pharmacist, nurse or call 111.

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Taking other medicines

There are no known important interactions between Acetylcysteine and other medicines. If you experience any unusual symptoms while using Acetylcysteine and other medicines you should tell your prescriber.

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Complementary preparations and vitamins

Medicines can interact with complementary preparations and vitamins. In general, there is not much information available about interactions between medicines and complementary preparations or vitamins.

If you are planning to take or are already taking any complementary preparations and vitamins you should ask your prescriber whether there are any known interactions with Acetylcysteine.

Your prescriber can advise whether it is appropriate for you to take combinations that are known to interact. They can also discuss with you the possible effect that the complementary preparations and vitamins may have on your condition.

If you experience any unusual effects while taking this medicine in combination with complementary preparations and vitamins, you should tell your prescriber.

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Driving and operating machinery

When taking any medicine you should be aware that it might interfere with your ability to drive or operate machinery safely.

In the case of Acetylcysteine:

  • after putting Acetylcysteine into your eye you may have blurred vision for a short time

You must not drive or operate machinery unless your vision has returned to normal after using Acetylcysteine.

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Diet

Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your prescriber may advise you to avoid certain foods.

In the case of Acetylcysteine:

  • there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when using Acetylcysteine
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Alcohol

Alcohol can interact with certain medicines.

In the case of Acetylcysteine:

  • there are no known interactions between alcohol and Acetylcysteine
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Family planning and pregnancy

Most medicines, in some way, can affect the development of a baby in the womb. The effect on the baby differs between medicines and also depends on the stage of pregnancy that you have reached when you take the medicine.

In the case of Acetylcysteine:

  • you should only use this medicine during pregnancy if your doctor thinks that you need it

You need to discuss your specific circumstances with your doctor to weigh up the overall risks and benefits of taking this medicine. You and your doctor can make a decision about whether you are going to take this medicine during pregnancy.

If the decision is that you should not have Acetylcysteine, then you should discuss whether there is an alternative medicine that you could take during pregnancy.

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Breast-feeding

Certain medicines can pass into breast milk and may reach your baby through breast-feeding.

In the case of Acetylcysteine:

  • using this medicine is not recommended while breast-feeding. You should only use this medicine and breast-feed on the advice of your prescriber

You need to discuss your specific circumstances with your doctor to weigh up the overall risks and benefits of having this medicine. You and your doctor can make a decision about whether you are going to have this medicine while you are breast-feeding.

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Ingredients of your medicine

Medicines contain active ingredients. They may also contain other, additional ingredients that help ensure the stability, safety and effectiveness of the medicine. They are also added to improve the medicine's appearance and to make it easier to use. Some may be used to prolong the life of the medicine.

This medicine contains acetylcysteine.

We are unable to list all of the ingredients for your medicine here. For a full list, you should refer to the patient information leaflet that comes with this medicine. You should check that you are able to take the ingredients of your medicine, especially if you have any allergies. You should also check whether any of these ingredients are known to have side-effects.

If you are not able to take any of the ingredients in your medicine, talk to your prescriber or pharmacist to see if they can suggest an alternative medicine. If you have reacted badly to Acetylcysteine before, do not take Acetylcysteine. Talk to your prescriber, pharmacist or nurse as soon as possible.

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Acetylcysteine, Version 9, last updated 01 Oct 2012