Generic Name: charcoal (CHAR coal)Brand Names: Actidose-Aqua, Activated Charcoal, Charcoal Plus DS, EZChar, Insta-Char, Liqui-Char, Optimum Charcoal
Charcoal is used to treat stomach pain caused by excess gas, diarrhea, or indigestion.
Charcoal also is used to relieve itching related to kidney dialysis treatment and to treat poisoning or drug overdose.
Charcoal may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.What is the most important information I should know about Activated Charcoal (charcoal)?You should not use this medication if you have ever had an allergic reaction to charcoal.
Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have liver or kidney disease, or any type of serious illness.
In a poisoning or overdose situation, it may not be possible before you are treated to tell your caregivers about any health conditions you have or if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. However, make sure any doctor caring for you afterward knows that you have received this medication.If you are taking charcoal at home to treat diarrhea, stop taking it and call your doctor if your diarrhea lasts longer than 2 days or you also have a fever. Do not take charcoal with any other medicine. Take your dose of charcoal at least 2 hours before or 1 hour after a dose of any other medicine. Charcoal binds to other drugs and can make them less effective, which could become dangerous.What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking Activated Charcoal (charcoal)?You should not use this medication if you have ever had an allergic reaction to charcoal.
If possible, before you receive charcoal, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:
kidney disease; or
any type of serious illness.
If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take this medication.It is not known whether charcoal is harmful to an unborn baby. Before you take charcoal, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. It is not known whether charcoal passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
In a poisoning or overdose situation, it may not be possible to tell your caregivers that you are pregnant or breast-feeding before you are treated with charcoal. However, make sure any doctor caring for your pregnancy or your baby knows that you have received the medication.Do not give this medication to a child younger than 1 year old without the advice of a doctor.
Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take it in larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.Take this medicine with a full glass (8 ounces) of water. Do not crush, break, or chew a charcoal tablet or capsule. Swallow the pill whole.
Charcoal is usually taken after meals or at the first sign of stomach discomfort.
Stop taking charcoal and call your doctor if your diarrhea lasts longer than 2 days or you also have a fever.Store charcoal at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Since charcoal is often taken only when needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are taking the medication regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to take the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
An overdose of charcoal is not likely to cause life-threatening symptoms.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
There may be other drugs that can interact with charcoal. Tell your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.