European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 217-222

First online:

Pharmacokinetics of N-acetylcysteine in man

  • L. BorgströmAffiliated withResearch and Development, Pharmacokinetics Laboratory, AB Draco
  • , B. KågedalAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical Chemistry, University Hospital
  • , O. PaulsenAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical Pharmacology, University Hospital

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N-Acetylcysteine was given intravenously and as three fast dissolving and one slow-release formulation, on separate occasions, as a single dose of 600 mg to 10 fasting (5 men and 5 women) healthy volunteers. Blood and urine were sampled for the following 12 h.

Renal clearance constituted around 30% of total body clearance, which was 0.21 l/h/kg. Volume of distribution was 0.33 l/kg, consistent with distribution mainly to extracellular water. The late elimination half-life was 2.27 h and the mean residence time 1.62 h.

The slow-release tablet resulted in a flattened plasma concentration-time curve typical of slow release formulations, while the other three oral formulations were rapidly absorbed.

The oral availability of N-acetylcysteine varied between 6 and 10%, with the slow-release tablet having the lowest and the fast dissolving tablet the highest availability.

Key words

N-acetylcysteine bioavailability slow-release formulation pharmacokinetics