N-Acetylcysteine in nephrology; contrast nephropathy and beyond.


PURPOSE OF REVIEW Since the first publication appeared in 2000 showing that prophylactic oral administration of the antioxidant acetylcysteine, along with adequate hydration, can prevent the reduction in renal function induced by non-ionic, low-osmolality contrast agents, acetylcysteine has rapidly become widely used in clinical practice. Meanwhile, other applications of acetylcysteine in nephrology have been reported. This review analyses recent literature on the effects of acetylcysteine on radiocontrast-induced nephropathy, on plasma homocysteine concentrations, and on cardiovascular events in patients with end-stage renal failure. RECENT FINDINGS At least 19 randomized trials evaluating acetylcysteine for the prevention of radiocontrast-induced nephropathy, at least five meta-analyses, and several reviews on that topic have been published within the past 4 years. The studies on radiocontrast-induced nephropathy showed remarkably mixed results, probably as a result of study heterogeneity. One study recently indicated that the administration of acetylcysteine during a haemodialysis session significantly lowered plasma homocysteine concentrations. Another study indicated that long-term antioxidative treatment with acetylcysteine significantly reduced cardiovascular events in patients with end-stage renal failure. SUMMARY Although there are controversies on dosing and timing, the use of acetylcysteine together with hydration should be considered to protect patients from radiographic contrast media-induced nephropathy. Long-term antioxidative treatment with acetylcysteine in patients with end-stage renal failure may also be useful to prevent adverse cardiovascular events.


Citations per Year

562 Citations

Semantic Scholar estimates that this publication has 562 citations based on the available data.

See our FAQ for additional information.

Cite this paper

@article{Tepel2004NAcetylcysteineIN, title={N-Acetylcysteine in nephrology; contrast nephropathy and beyond.}, author={Martin Tepel and Walter Zidek}, journal={Current opinion in nephrology and hypertension}, year={2004}, volume={13 6}, pages={649-54} }