Charcoal, Activated

Table of contents

  • Brand Names
  • Drug Combinations
  • Chemistry
  • Pharmacologic Category
  • Mechanism of Action
  • Therapeutic Use
  • Pregnancy and Lactation Implications
  • Contraindications
  • Warnings and Precautions
  • Adverse Reactions
  • Drug Interactions
  • Nutrition/Nutraceutical Interactions
  • Dosage
  • Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics
  • Special Considerations

Brand Names


Austria: AyuCarbon, Biocarbon, Carbo Medicinalis, Kohle-Kapseln, Norit; Belgium: Carbón de Belloc, Norit; Cyprus: Carbomix, Ultracarbon; Czech Republic: Carbo Medicinalis, Carbosorb, Norit Carbomix; Finland: Carbo medicinalis, Carbomix; France: Carbactive, Carbomix, Colocarb, Charbon Vegetal Active, Formocarbine, Splenocarbine, Toxicarb; Germany: Ultracarbon; Greece: Ultracarbon; Ireland: Carbomix, Liqui-Char; Italy: Carbomix, Carbone Belloc; Malta: Biocarbon, Carbomix; Netherlands: Norit; Poland: Carbo Activ, Carbo Medicinalis, Węgiel Leczniczy; Portugal: Norit; Slovakia: Carbo Medicinalis, Carbocit, Carbosorb, Carbotox; Spain: Carbon Vegetal, Carbon Ultra Adsorbente, Ultra-Adsorb; Sweden: Carbo Medicinalis, Carbomix, Kolsuspension, Medikol, Norit; UK: Carbomix, Charcodote.

North America

Canada: Activated Charcoal, Carbo Vegetabilis, Charac, Charactol, Charcodote; USA: Char-Caps, CharcoAid G, CharcoCaps.

Latin America

Argentina: Carbón Activado, Minicam Carb; Mexico: Carbotural.

Drug combinations

Charcoal, Activated and Simethicone

Charcoal, Activated, Magnesium Citrate, and Methenamine

Other Charcoal, Activated combinations: Hawthorn; Homatropine; Ipecac Syrup


Charcoal, activated: CAS-16291-96-6. Antidote (general purpose); pharmaceutic aid (adsorbant).

Pharmacologic Category

Antacids and Adsorbents. Antidotes. (ATC-Code: A07BA).

Mechanism of action

Aids the elimination of certain drugs and improves decontamination of excessive ingestions of sustained-release products or in the presence of bezoars. Adsorbs toxic substances or irritants, thus inhibiting gastrointestinal absorption. Adsorbs intestinal gas. Adsorbs enzymes, vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and other nutrients from the gastrointestinal tract.

Therapeutic use

Emergency treatment in poisoning by drugs and chemicals. Dietary supplement (digestive aid).

Pregnancy and lactiation implications

Use with caution during pregnancy. Compatible with breast-feeding.

Unlabeled use


Hypersensitivity to charcoal or any component of the formulation. Intestinal obstruction. Gastrointestinal tract not anatomically intact. Risk of hemorrhage or gastrointestinal perforation. Unprotected airway (e.g. CNS depression without intubation). Risk of aspiration. Ingestion of a corrosive (caustic) substance is not a contraindication if charcoal is used for coingested systemic toxin. Charcoal is not effective for cyanide, mineral acids, caustic alkalis, organic solvents, iron, ethanol, methanol or lithium poisonings. Do not use charcoal with sorbitol in fructose intolerance. Charcoal with sorbitol is not recommended in children <1 year of age.

Warnings and precautions

May cause vomiting (avoid use in hydrocarbon and caustic ingestions). Use with caution in decreased peristalsis. Co-administration of a cathartic is not recommended. Charcoal with sorbitol not recommended in children <1 year of age. Commercial charcoal products may contain propylene glycol. Not effective for cyanide, mineral acids, caustic alkalis, organic solvents, iron, ethanol, methanol, or lithium poisoning. Most effective when administered within 30-60 minutes of ingestion.



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