Adverse effects of activated charcoal used for the treatment of poisoning

  title={Adverse effects of activated charcoal used for the treatment of poisoning},
  author={Zeshan U Qureshi and Michael Eddleston},
  journal={Adverse Drug Reaction Bulletin},
The incidence of adverse effects of activated charcoal in poisoned patients is unclear. We performed a search of PubMed, EMBASE, and Ovid to identify large cohorts, and both randomized and pseudorandomized controlled trials, finding nine articles. The most commonly described adverse events were vomiting, aspiration, and intubation. Activated charcoal did not increase the incidence of these adverse effects. Other adverse events such as bowel obstruction, corneal abrasions, electrolyte… Expand
A rare case of small bowel obstruction secondary to activated charcoal administration
Clinicians should be aware of the rare occurrence of gastrointestinal complication or obstruction following the administration of multiple-dose activated charcoal, especially in patients who ingested a drug that is potentially antiperistaltic. Expand


Repetitive doses of activated charcoal in the treatment of poisoning.
While supportive management remains the mainstay of therapy in poisoned patients, activated charcoal is inexpensive, effective, simple to administer, and may obviate the need for more invasive methods of toxin removal. Expand
A randomized clinical trial of activated charcoal for the routine management of oral drug overdose.
Routine administration of charcoal following oral overdose did not significantly influence length of stay or other patient outcomes following oral drug overdose, and this does not exclude a role in patients who present shortly after ingestion of highly lethal drugs. Expand
Superiority of activated charcoal alone compared with ipecac and activated charcoal in the treatment of acute toxic ingestions.
Together, these data are consistent with the recommendation that ED treatment with activated charcoal alone be the gastrointestinal decontamination procedure of choice for the routine mildly-to-moderately orally poisoned adult patient. Expand
The frequency of complications associated with the use of multiple-dose activated charcoal.
Clinically significant complications associated with the use of multiple-dose activated charcoal occur infrequently and are judged to have had clinically significant pulmonary aspiration and gastrointestinal obstruction. Expand
Multiple-dose activated charcoal in acute self-poisoning: a randomised controlled trial
The authors cannot recommend the routine use of multiple-dose activated charcoal in rural Asia Pacific; although further studies of early charcoal administration might be useful, effective affordable treatments are urgently needed. Expand
Multiple-dose activated charcoal for treatment of yellow oleander poisoning: a single-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial
Multiple-dose activated charcoal is effective in reducing deaths and life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias after yellow oleander poisoning and should be considered in all patients. Expand
Charcoal stercolith with intestinal perforation in a patient treated for amitriptyline ingestion.
With a rare potential of mechanical obstruction, the decision to use repetitive-dose charcoal therapy should be made judiciously when the ingested toxin or coincident therapeutic medications have antiperistaltic activity. Expand
Small-bowel obstruction secondary to activated charcoal and adhesions.
This patient developed a small-bowel obstruction associated with the administration of multiple doses of activated charcoal for treatment of theophylline toxicity and had low-grade, previously asymptomatic adhesions at the ileocecal valve. Expand
Gastrointestinal clearance of drugs with activated charcoal.
  • G. Levy
  • Medicine, Computer Science
  • The New England journal of medicine
  • 1982
The mainstays of caring for patients who have swallowed poison or been given an overdose of drugs are inhibition of absorption or specific treatment (if an... Expand
Adverse effects of superactivated charcoal administered to healthy volunteers.
Superactivated charcoal consumption is associated with significant adverse effects in some healthy volunteers, which may impede a drug overdose patient's ability to willingly drink charcoal slurry in a reasonable period of time. Expand