Chemical Component Summary

Synonyms(2R)-2-acetamido-3-sulfanyl-propanoic acid
Identifiers(2R)-2-acetamido-3-sulfanyl-propanoic acid
FormulaC5 H9 N O3 S
Molecular Weight163.19
Isomeric SMILESCC(=O)N[C@@H](CS)C(=O)O

Chemical Details

Formal Charge0
Atom Count19
Chiral Atom Count1
Bond Count18
Aromatic Bond Count0

Drug Info: DrugBank

DrugBank IDDB06151 
  • approved
  • investigational
DescriptionAcetylcysteine (also known as N-acetylcysteine or N-acetyl-L-cysteine or NAC) is primarily used as a mucolytic agent and in the management of acetaminophen poisoning. It is a derivative of cysteine with an acetyl group attached to the amino group of cysteine. NAC is essentially a prodrug that is converted to cysteine (in the intestine by the enzyme aminoacylase 1) and absorbed in the intestine into the blood stream. Cysteine is a key constituent to glutathione and hence administration of acetylcysteine replenishes glutathione stores. Acetylcysteine can also be used as a general antioxidant which can help mitigate symptoms for a variety of diseases exacerbated by reactive oxygen species (ROS). For instance, acetylcysteine is commonly used in individuals with renal impairment to prevent the precipitation of acute renal failure. Acetylcysteine has been shown to have efficacy in treating mild to moderate traumatic brain injury including ischemic brain injury, particularly in reducing neuronal losses, and also reducing cognitive and neurological symptoms when administered promptly after injury. N-acetylcysteine is now widely used in the treatment of HIV, and it has reported efficacy in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and contrast-induced nephropathy. Acetylcysteine is also being successfully used to treat a variety of neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders including cocaine, cannabis, and smoking addictions, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, autism, compulsive and grooming disorders, schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder. Recent data also shows that N-acetylcysteine inhibits muscle fatigue and can be used to enhance performance in endurance events and in exercise and endurance training. Acetylcysteine is also undergoing clinical trials as RK-0202, an oral rinse for the prevention and treatment of mucositis. It is comprised of acetylcysteine in a polymer matrix.
  • L-α-acetamido-β-mercaptopropionic acid
  • Acetylcysteine
  • (R)-mercapturic acid
  • Acetylcysteinum
  • Mercapturic acid
Brand Names
  • Acetadote
  • L-Methyl-MC-NAC
  • Mucomyst
  • Acetylcysteine Injection
  • Acetylcysteine
IndicationAcetylcysteine is used mainly as a mucolytic and in the management of paracetamol (acetaminophen) overdose.
  • Amino Acids
  • Amino Acids, Neutral
  • Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins
  • Amino Acids, Sulfur
  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • R05CB01
  • S01XA08
  • V03AB23
CAS number616-91-1

Drug Targets

NameTarget SequencePharmacological ActionActions
NAPQI (N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine)-unknownreducer
Inhibitor of nuclear factor kappa-B kinase subunit betaMSWSPSLTTQTCGAWEMKERLGTGGFGNVIRWHNQETGEQIAIKQCRQEL...unknowninhibitor
View More
Drug Info/Drug Targets: DrugBank 3.0: a comprehensive resource for 'omics' research on drugs. Knox C, Law V, Jewison T, Liu P, Ly S, Frolkis A, Pon A, Banco K, Mak C, Neveu V, Djoumbou Y, Eisner R, Guo AC, Wishart DS. Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 Jan; 39 (Database issue):D1035-41. | PMID:21059682

Related Resource References

Resource NameReference