UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Toxicology

Title: Activated Charcoal

Keywords: Gastrointestinal decontamination, activated charcoal, poisoning (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/19/2007 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Updated: 5/29/2024)
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Gastrointestinal Decontamination - Activated Charcoal Pharmacist P.f. Touery, in 1831, making a demonstration of the effectiveness of charcoal before the French academy of Medicine, survived after swallowing 15 g of strychnine (10x lethal dose) and an equal amount of charcoal - 3 tablespoons. (That's for you Dr. Rolnick) - Assess the patients' chance of becoming unresponsive or vomiting in relation to the ingestion if known. - Maximal benefit if given within 1 hour of ingestion, drug is likely still in the stomach. - No study has yet to show decrease in morbidity or mortality when empirically given to all ingestions. - Only one study has shown multi-dose activated charcoal to decrease morbidity and mortality and that was with a drug (oleander is like digoxin) that is enterohepatically metabolized. de Silva HA, et al. Multiple-dose activated charcoal for treatment of yellow oleander poisoning: a single-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet. 2003 Jun 7;361(9373):1935-8.