Fatal anaphylactoid reaction to N-acetylcysteine: caution in patients with asthma
- Correspondence to: Dr A Appelboam, Department of Anaesthetics, Torbay Hospital, Torquay, Devon TQ2 7AA;
- Accepted 31 January 2002
Paracetamol overdose is a common reason for presentation to the emergency department and N-acetylcysteine is frequently used in the treatment of toxic paracetamol ingestions. Adverse reactions to N-acetylcysteine are common though usually mild and easily treated. Serious reactions to N-acetylcysteine however, are rare and there have been no previous reported fatalities with its therapeutic use. This report describes the case of a 40 year old brittle asthmatic patient who died after treatment with intravenous N-acetylcysteine. Asthma is a risk factor for adverse reactions to N-acetylcysteine and special caution should be exercised in its use in brittle asthmatic patients.