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Drugs reference index «Charcoal, activated»

Charcoal, activated

Pronunciation: (CHAR-kole)Class: Antidote

Trade Names:Actidose-Aqua- Liquid 208 mg/mL

Trade Names:Actidose with Sorbitol- Liquid 208 mg/mL

Trade Names:CharcoAid- Suspension 15 g- Suspension 30 g

Trade Names:CharcoAid 2000- Liquid 15 g- Liquid 50 g- Granules 15 g

Trade Names:Liqui-Char- Liquid 208 mg/mL

Charcodote (Canada)Charcodote Aqueous (Canada)Charcodote TFS (Canada)


Inhibits GI absorption.

Indications and Usage

Emergency treatment of poisoning by most drugs and chemicals.

Unlabeled Uses

Treatment of diarrhea, stomach gas, and excessive flatulence.


None known. Ineffective for poisonings by cyanide, mineral acids and alkalis. Not particularly effective for poisonings by ethanol, methanol, and iron salts.

Dosage and Administration

Acute Intoxication

PO/Gavage tube 30 to 100 g (or 1 g/kg or about 5 to 10 times amount of poison ingested) as suspension (mixed with 6 to 8 oz water).

GI Dialysis

PO/Gavage tube 20 to 40 every 6 h for 1 to 2 days; alternate aqueous suspension and sorbitol suspension.

General Advice

  • When inducing vomiting, do so before giving activated charcoal. When large doses of drugs have been ingested, remove as much of ingested poison as possible by gastric lavage.
  • Administer orally to conscious patients only.
  • For comatose patients or patients with altered mental status, administer via nasogastric tube.


Store in tightly closed container. Premixed suspension can be stored for up to 1 yr.

Drug Interactions

Food (eg, milk, ice cream, sherbet)

Decrease the absorptive capacity of drug.

Other medications

May have decreased effectiveness because of absorption by activated charcoal (eg, oral acetylcysteine used as antidote for acetaminophen overdose).

Syrup of ipecac

Inactivated because of absorption by activated charcoal. Do not administer together.

Laboratory Test Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions


Vomiting; constipation or diarrhea; black stools. Sorbitol may cause loose stools and vomiting.



Pregnancy category undetermined.




Use under health care provider's supervision so fluid and electrolyte balance can be monitored properly.

Patient Information

  • This drug should not be used as antidote in home.
  • Advise patient that stools will be black for several days.
  • Advise patient that diarrhea may continue for 24 to 48 h.

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