Year : 2023  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 168-173

Assessment of N-acetylcysteine use for acetaminophen overdose in the emergency department of a community teaching hospital: A pilot study

1 Department of Emergency Medicine - College of Medicine, King Saud University (KSU) and King Saud University Medical City (KSUMC), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Clinical Pharmacy-College of Pharmacy, King Saud University (KSU), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Sultan M Alghadeer
P.O. Box 2454, Riyadh 11451
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sja.sja_707_22

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Introduction: N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is the first-line treatment for acetaminophen (APAP) overdose. However, using NAC inappropriately is associated with an increased risk of adverse effects as well as a substantial increase in hospitalization and healthcare costs. This study aims to assess NAC utilization for acute APAP overdose in the emergency department of a community teaching hospital in Saudi Arabia. Methods: A retrospective chart review in which the patients initiated on an NAC secondary to acute APAP overdose at KSUMC during the period of June 2015 till November 2018 were included and assessed based on developed validated evident-based protocol for administering NAC for acute APAP ingestion. Results: A total of 29 patients received NAC treatment for acute APAP overdose; 15 of which were adults, and 14 were pediatrics. Appropriate prescribing of NAC was observed in 14 (48.28%) patients, whereas NAC was inappropriately indicated for 15 (51.72%) patients; 9 of them were adults and 6 patients were pediatric. APAP-Ingestion <150 mg/kg (<200 mg/kg in children) was the most common reason for inappropriate use (n = 7, 46.67%) followed by administering NAC <4 hours post-APAP ingestion (n = 4, 26.67%). Conclusion: Improper NAC administration appears to be a significant issue among patients with APAP overdose. The utilization of a protocol for the management of APAP overdose will reduce the unnecessary usage of NAC.

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