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You are here : 3-RX.com > Drugs & Medications > Detailed Drug Information (USP DI) > Charcoal, Activated : Before Using

Charcoal, Activated (Oral)

Charcoal, Activated | Before Using | Proper Use | Side Effects

Before Using This Medicine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For activated charcoal, the following should be considered:

Allergies - Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to activated charcoal or to fructose (fruit sugar). Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.

Pregnancy - Activated charcoal has not been reported to cause birth defects or other problems in humans.

Breast-feeding - Activated charcoal has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies.

Children - Activated charcoal should be used only under the direct supervision of your doctor, poison control center, or other health care professional.

Older adults - Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults. Although there is no specific information comparing the use of activated charcoal in the elderly, this medicine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.

However, elderly persons with slow digestion are more likely to develop constipation if given more than one dose of activated charcoal.

Other medicines - Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Other medical problems - The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of activated charcoal. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Bleeding, intestinal or
  • Blockage, intestinal or
  • Hole in the intestine - Activated charcoal may make these conditions worse
  • Decreased alertness - To prevent activated charcoal from getting into the patient's lungs, it may be necessary to place a tube in the patient's throat before activated charcoal is given
  • Dehydration - Use of laxatives, such as sorbitol, is not recommended
  • Slow digestion - Activated charcoal may not work properly
  • Surgery, recent - Activated charcoal may cause abdominal or stomach problems

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Charcoal, Activated: Description and Brand Names


Charcoal, Activated: Proper Use

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