The N-acetyl derivative of CYSTEINE. It is used as a mucolytic agent to reduce the viscosity of mucous secretions. It has also been shown to have antiviral effects in patients with HIV due to inhibition of viral stimulation by reactive oxygen intermediates. N-Acetylcystene (NAC) as a precursor to the antioxidant glutathione modulates glutamatergic, neurotrophic, and inflammatory pathways. The potential applications of NAC to facilitate recovery after traumatic brain injury, cerebral ischemia, and in treatment of cerebrovascular vasospasm after subarachnoid hemorrhage.