Charcoal, Activated (Oral)
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
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
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
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