N-acetylcysteine enhances nitroglycerin-induced headache and cranial arterial responses

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The effects of N-acetylcysteine, a sulfhydryl group donor, on nitroglycerin-induced headache and dilation of temporal and radial arteries were investigated in 11 healthy volunteers. Nitroglycerin, 0.06 microgram/kg/min, was infused for 20 minutes immediately after and 120 minutes after pretreatment with N-acetylcysteine (100 mg/kg) or placebo. Arterial diameters were measured with high frequency ultrasound, and pain was scored by use of a previously evaluated 10-point scale. Plasma levels of free (n = 2) and total (n = 11) N-acetylcysteine were determined. N-Acetylcysteine potentiated the headache response (median headache score, 3 versus 1), and the headache retained its vascular characteristics. Temporal artery dilation was also potentiated by N-acetylcysteine, 139% +/- 3% versus 127% +/- 3% of baseline, whereas the radial artery was unaffected. The potentiation was most pronounced after the first nitroglycerin infusion (12% versus 4.5% compared with placebo). A prolonged dilation of the temporal artery was observed only after the first nitroglycerin infusion, when high levels of N-acetylcysteine were present.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)125-33
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1992

    Research areas

  • Acetylcysteine, Adult, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Double-Blind Method, Drug Administration Schedule, Drug Synergism, Female, Forearm, Headache, Hemodynamics, Humans, Male, Nitroglycerin, Skull, Temporal Arteries, Time Factors, Vasodilation

ID: 128984638