Fifteen patients with paracetamol (acetaminophen) poisoning were treated with intravenous N-acetylcystein (300 mg/kg given over 20 h). Mean admission and 4 h plasma-paracetamol concentrations were 262 and 369 microgram/ml, respectively. Liver-function tests remained normal or were only slightly disturbed in 11 of 12 patients treated within 10 h of paracetamol ingestion. Severe liver damage developed in the other patient and in the three in whom treatment was started more than 10 h after paracetamol ingestion. In contrast to cysteamine, N-acetylcysteine was very well tolerated and has the advantage of being available as a pharmaceutical preparation in a 20% sterile solution.