The role of activated charcoal in acute intoxications

S. Eti, S. Dagistanli

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review


Activated charcoal administration is a routine intervention following acute drug intoxication in many countries. It is a very effective nonspecific adsorbent. Activated charcoal will decrease the absorption of various drugs and most inorganic and organic materials. The best method of gastric decontamination remains controversial. Most of the studies suggest that activated charcoal is as effective as ipecac or lavage and even better in selected cases. It has also been shown that repetitive doses of activated charcoal enhance the excretion of drugs such as phenobarbital, theophylline, salycilate. Multiple doses of activated charcoal can decrease the elimination half-lifes of drugs through a variety of mechanisms including gastrointestinal dialysis. It should be an integral part of basic poison management. The availability of activated charcoal as over the counter drug should be encouraged in the country.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-48
Number of pages3
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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