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Acetylcysteine Eye Drops

Acetylcysteine Eye Drops in Winnipeg

Are you looking for Acetylcysteine eye drops in Winnipeg?  Do you suffer from chronic dry eyes?

Our compounding pharmacy makes acetylcysteine ophthalmic drops.

Acetylcysteine drops are often used to treat a condition known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca.

To reach us, call us now at (204) 233-3469 , email us at tache@mts.net or visit our contact us page for other methods of contact such as our online contact form.

What is acetylcysteine?

Acetylcysteine is a medication that is also known by the names N-Acetylcysteine, N-acetyl-L-cysteine or NAC.  It is derived from cysteine. An acetyl group is added to the amino group of the cysteine molecule.

What is acetylcysteine usually used for?

Acetylcysteine has a few common indications or uses.

Acetylcysteine is used to treat acetaminophen (Tylenol) poisoning.  It helps to prevent liver damage from acetaminophen overdose.

When acetaminophen is metabolized in the liver small amounts of a chemical NAPQI (N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine) is made.  This chemical is harmful to the liver if not neutralized.  

Glutathione neutralizes NAPQI.  The liver can usually produce enough glutathione.  During acetaminophen poisoning the liver cannot produce enough glutathione.

Acetylcysteine is converted into cysteine on the intestines.  Cysteine is a key component of glutathione. Therefore acetylcysteine helps provide the body with needed glutathione.

Acetylcysteine is also a mucolytic agent. This means that is helps to break down mucus and make it thinner.

NAC is therefore inhaled through the mouth to treat certain lung diseases.  These conditions include cystic fibrosis, emphysema and bronchitis.

There are some other uses of N-acetyl-L-cysteine but these two uses are the most common.

What are acetylcysteine eye drops used for?

Acetylcysteine eye drops are used to treat chronic dry eyes.

These eye drops essentially act as artificial tears. They alter the eye’s natural tears.  They help to soothe and lubricate the eyes.

How do these eye drops work?

It is believed that most dry eye symptoms are caused by chronic inflammation of the lacrimal (tear producing) functional unit.  This chronic inflammation results in the loss of tear film integrity and normal function.

This causes the surface of the eye to be unable to respond to environmental challenges.

It is the changes in tear aqueous, mucin, and lipid components that is the ultimate cause of the dysfunctional tear film.

It is thought that a central mechanism in chronic dry eye, or dry eye syndrome, is tear hyperosmolarity.  Tear hyperosmolarity is also known as lacrimal hyperosmolarity.

Lacrimal hyperosmolarity leads to ocular surface inflammation and damage.  This further leads to symptoms of dry eye as well as compensatory measures occurring.

One of these compensatory measures include the accumulation of mucus in the conjunction sac.  Acetylcysteine is a mucolytic agent (thins and breaks down mucus). Acetylcysteine applied to the eye helps to reduce mucus accumulation and to control mucus secretion.

N-acetyl-L-cysteine reduces the viscosity of mucus (thins it). This thinning of mucus is achieved by altering mucoproteins.  Basically, the free sulphydryl group in the acetylcysteine molecule reduces the disulphide bonds of the mucoproteins present in mucus.

Essentially, N-acetyl-L-cysteine reduces the stickiness of tears.  This allows the tears to flow more freely over the eye and therefore lubricate and hydrate the eye better.

Are there any side effects or precautions?

Some possible side effects include:

  • A burning sensation when instilling the drops
  • A bad odor
  • Rarely, some people may experience more discomfort

Precautions include:

  • Do not use if pregnant or breastfeeding before discussing the risks with your doctor.
  • Do not use if you are allergic to any components of the eye drops.
  • Do not use with soft contact lenses

How do I use these eye drops?

These drops are usually applied to the affected eyes four times a day.  If your instructions are different please follow your physician’s directions.

Are there any special storage requirements?

Acetylcysteine drops are stored in the refrigerator.

How do I get these eye drops?

These drops do require a prescription from your family doctor or ophthalmologist.

Our pharmacists can work with your doctor to get a prescription.

How long does it take to get acetylcysteine eye drops?

Acetylcysteine drops take up to 2 business days to prepare in our compounding lab.

For a study comparing the effectiveness of acetylcysteine ophthalmic drops to artificial tears visit https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16334742