High-dose N-acetylcysteine for the Prevention of Contrast-induced Nephropathy

Hariprasad Trivedi, Sumanth Daram, Aniko Szabo, Antonio L. Bartorelli, Giancarlo Marenzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Background: Whether N-acetylcysteine is beneficial for the prevention of contrast-induced nephropathy is uncertain. Methods: We conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate the efficacy of high-dose N-acetylcysteine for the prevention of contrast-induced nephropathy. Our prespecified inclusion criteria were as follows: adult subjects; English language literature; administration of high-dose N-acetylcysteine a priori defined as a daily dose greater than 1200 mg or a single periprocedural dose (within 4 hours of contrast exposure) greater than 600 mg; prospective trials of individuals randomized to N-acetylcysteine, administered orally or intravenously, versus a control group; and trials that included the end point of the incidence of contrast-induced nephropathy. Trials that compared N-acetylcysteine with another active treatment were excluded. Results: Sixteen comparisons of patients randomized to high-dose N-acetylcysteine versus controls met our prespecified inclusion criteria with a total sample size of 1677 subjects (842 assigned to high-dose N-acetylcysteine and 835 assigned to the control arm). The average population age was 68 years, 38.7% were diabetic, and the majority was male (67.8% of reported instances). The weighted mean baseline creatinine of the overall population was 1.58 mg/dL. No significant heterogeneity was detected (P = .09; I2 = 34%). The overall effect size assuming a common odds ratio revealed an odds ratio of 0.46 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.33-0.63) for the occurrence of contrast-induced nephropathy with the use of high-dose N-acetylcysteine. The results of the more conservative random effects approach were similar (odds ratio = 0.52; 95% CI, 0.34-0.78). There was no evidence of publication bias (P = .34). Conclusion: Our results suggest that high-dose N-acetylcysteine decreases the incidence of contrast-induced nephropathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)874.e9-874.e15
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Acute
  • Contrast-induced nephropathy
  • N-acetylcysteine
  • Radiocontrast media
  • Renal failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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