PharmaNAC at NYBC

PharmaNAC, an effervescent tablet formulation of NAC (N-acetylcysteine), has been available from the New York Buyers Club for several years. We are pleased to offer this formulation, both because it’s a high quality preparation with careful manufacturing controls and protective packaging, and because ongoing research on NAC has continued to point to its usefulness in many fields, from respiratory and immune system support to serving as an antidote to acetaminophen (common tradename: Tylenol) overdose.

Here are some product details from the manufacturer:

N-acetylcysteine or “NAC” for short, is a derivative of the amino acid L-cysteine, which is an essential precursor used by the body to produce glutathione. Glutathione is an important and powerful antioxidant produced by the body to help protect against free radical damage, and is a critical factor in supporting a healthy immune system.

PharmaNAC:
• Certified European Good Manufacturing Process (GMP) grade NAC.
• Effective way to help boost glutathione levels.
• Effervescent, quick-dissolving tablets allow NAC to enter cells readily, ensuring rapid absorption.
• Quality controlled according to pharmaceutical guidelines.
• Compliant to the standards of European Pharmacopoeia and United States Pharmacopoeia.
• Individually wrapped tablets in a 4-layer (paper/plastic/foil plastic) air-tight material to prevent moisture and air from degrading the NAC (a major problem with most other over the counter NAC).

For information on purchasing, see the NYBC entry at

http://nybcsecure.org/product_info.php?products_id=258

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28 billion doses of acetaminophen per year sold in the US; liver damage caused by acetaminophen leads to 400 deaths and 42,000 hospitalizations/year; why not recommend NAC (N-acetylcysteine) as antidote?

We read with interest in the New York Times on July 1 that the FDA had convened a panel to advise on how to deal with the medical problems arising from the extraordinary popularity of acetaminophen (most commonly recognized tradename: Tylenol) in the US.

Since acetaminophen is often part of a combination medication, the potential for people to accidentally overdose on it is ever present. Overdoses of acetaminophen now represent the leading cause of liver damage in the US. In hopes of reducing some of these accidents, the FDA advisory panel voted to recommend lowering the highest allowable dose of acetaminophen in over-the-counter pills like Tylenol; the panel also voted to recommend a ban on some narcotics that typically are paired with acetaminophen.

Our thought, as in the past on this blog: why not encourage drug manufacturers to pair acetaminophen with NAC (N-acetylcysteine), a known antidote to acetaminophen poisoning, widely used for that purpose in Europe? Certainly we recommend to NYBC members that if they must used acetaminophen, they also take NAC for protection as well.

NAC (N-acetylcysteine) as antidote to acetaminophen toxicity

Here’s more information on NAC as an antidote to acetaminophen overdose (best-known tradename is Tylenol, but note that acetaminophen is often paired with other drugs).

emedicine work-up on “acetaminophen toxicity”, including the role of NAC as antidote:

Frequency:

• In the US: Acetaminophen is the drug most commonly ingested in overdoses and is a common co-ingestant. Acetaminophen-induced hepatic failure is the second leading cause of liver transplantation.

Mortality/Morbidity:
• Since the introduction of NAC, the mortality rate from APAP toxicity is low.
However, in its Nov. 29, 2005 edition, The New York Times reported alarm among some in the healthcare community about a rise in acetaminophen poisoning in the US. NYBC replied in a letter to the Editor:

[We were] surprised that your article “Poisonings From a Popular Pain Reliever Are on the Rise” (Nov. 29, 2005) did not mention a readily available antidote for acute acetaminophen poisoning: N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a dietary supplement that costs just a few dollars. NAC has been studied and used as an antidote to acetaminophen overdose in Europe, and more recently in the US as well. It would be too bad if your article alerted people to the dangers of overdosing on this pain reliever without mentioning the wide availability and effectiveness of the antidote.

To conclude: we fear that this may be still another case of the prevalent bias in the US healthcare community against dietary supplements, dictated frequently by pharmaceutical companies’ lack of interest in promoting low-cost, low-margin supplements (as opposed to patentable and thus highly lucrative medications). The result: while in Europe acetaminophen poisoning risk is decreased by its usual pairing with NAC in drugs, in the US this pairing is less common, with the disastrous consequences outlined in The New York Times article.

See additional NAC information on the NYBC website: NAC -Pharmaceutical Grade.