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British Lung Foundation
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Acetylcysteine - anyone taking it?

I have been prescribed Acetylcysteine to help 'liquify' my chest! Apparently to thin out what might be deep in y chest and hard to cough up. Does anyone else take this and if so, what are the effects?

I sometimes feel like I'm going to choke when my chest is loose as I cough so much but it won't come up - or go down! This causes me anxiety, so naturally I am anxious about taking this tablet 3 x times daily incase it creates excessive 'stuff' that I worry will get stuck.

Such a sook I know, but would like to hear how it works for those that may take it.


Jean :-)

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10 Replies

Don't worry it will not create more mucus, only make what's already there thinner in consistency and easier to shift.

Acetylcysteine is not a chemical drug by the way, but a form of the amino acid cysteine which has been modified to be more bioavailable. It is also a powerful antioxidant with many health benefits.

You might try 'Huff Coughing' . . . cftoo.blogspot.co.uk/2009/0...

"1. To prepare the lungs and airways for the huff coughing technique, you must first expel all the stale air in your lungs and airways. Begin by slowing down your breathing. Take slow gentle breaths, ending with one slow exhalation lasting three to four seconds.

2. Inhale slowly using your diaphragm. This is called diaphragmatic breathing or "breathing with your belly". This inhalation should be a slow comfortable breath; do not overinflate your lungs.

3. After inhaling a breath slowly, hold it for 3 seconds. This is done to control your breathing and prepare for an effective huff cough.

4. Tilt your chin up slightly and use your stomach muscles to make a series of three rapid exhalations with the airway open, making a "ha, ha, ha" sound. This helps to open the epiglottis in your throat and better allow the expulsion of the mucus in your airways.

5. Gain control of your breathing again by taking a couple slow breaths.

6. Repeat the huff coughing technique until the mucus has reached the back of your throat."


great description thanks :)

I have IPF and have been taking N-Acetylcysteine since October 2008, 600mg tablets thrice daily. I don't honestly know if they have done anything for me but I am still alive!

Hi my husband took this for a while and I think it did help but he had an stomach ulcer many years ago and it started to flare up again. Stopped taking it. Hope it works well for you. TAD x x

Thanks for the advice. I tried the Huff Coughing - and it worked! Who'd have thought!

I will start the tabs tomorrow then and see how it goes. I just don't like taking medication (but realise I have to) and in the last 6 months have gone from taking nothing, to taking around 15 tabs a day - and hate it!

Thank again all

Jean :-)

Hi just tried your technique,I am on the A-ACETYLCYSTEINE the huff technique made my eyes water a bit and it worked fine thanks.

For those interested the Huff Coughing technique is gone into in more detail here . . .


I was prescribed it, didn't work for me - made me cough more but I think thats because I didn't have anything to 'loosen'. It sits in my drawer. Quite glad the size of tablets are enormous - always used to dissolve them.


Hi Jean,

After being breathless and suffering with an excess of phlegm for some time I have now been diagnosed with IPF. I have been prescribed Acetyyicysteine 600 mg. in tablet form, one tablet three times a day.

It seems to help with loosening my phlegm but I still get breathless at the slightest bit of exercise.

I found the following very very helpful, just google "how to cough up phlegm - UHSM"

It's a youtube video.



I had a stomach ulcer many years ago also had these tablets given to me by a Spanish pharmacist but only take a few thought it was once a day but not sure? Its for my catarrh but for 2 years on the trot had bronchitis but not last year I have not smoked in 40 years. Pete.

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