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ON THE MUCOLYTIC EFFECT OF ACETYLCYSTEINE


S. Jargin, Russian University of Peoples Friendship, Moscow
Annotation. Acetylcysteine (N-acetyl-L-cysteine, usually
abbreviated as NAC) is considered to be a mucolytic drug;
however, its clinical effectiveness has not been well documented,
in particular, if the substance is taken per os. There is apparently a
strong placebo effect reinforced by Pavlovian conditioning if NAC
had been administered together with expectorants or inhalations.
After an oral intake, NAC was not detected in airway secretions
and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. This is not surprising as NAC is

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rapidly metabolized. Biochemical mechanisms are discussed here.


In conclusion, there are reasons to doubt effectiveness of NAC in
certain conditions beyond the placebo effect, especially for the oral
intake. The matter can be clarified in vitro by viscosimetry of sputum
after the addition of different quantities of NAC and measurements of
NAC concentration in expectorated sputum from patients receiving
the substance per os.
Keywords: acetylcysteine, mucolytic, sputum, chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease.

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4 (51) 2016

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/ . . ... : . . - . . . , 1971.
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: 117198, . , . -, 6
.: (495) 9516788, e-mail: sjargin@mail.ru

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