Key points

  • We recommend to consult your poison centre with the use of this antidote.
  • Activated Charcoal administration is contraindicated for certain toxic agents and not recommended for others which are sparsely or not adsorbed by it.
  • The longer the delay after ingestion, the lower the effectiveness of activated charcoal.
  • Make sure the patient can protect his/her airway or has a protected airway prior to the administration of activated charcoal.
  • Repeated doses of activated charcoal should not be administered if peristalsis is poor or absent.
  • Repeated doses may be used to enhance elimination, contact your poison centre for more information.
  • The poison centre does not recommend the repeated use of sorbitol activated charcoal suspensions. Only aqueous activated charcoal suspensions is now recommended. The addition of sorbitol to activated charcoal may lead to an increased incidence of adverse effects, especially in children. These include induced vomiting, electrolyte imbalances and dehydration. In the event of a shortage of aqueous activated charcoal suspensions, consult your poison centre before administering subsequent doses of sorbitol activated charcoal suspension
  • Note on Shortage of Aqueous Activated Suspensions (FrenchEnglish).

© Centre antipoison du Québec, CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale, 2017. The information contained in this site may be cited, provided the source is acknowledged. Any use for commercial or advertising purposes is strictly prohibited.

ISSN : 2292-230X

Authors: Bailey B, Blais R, Dubé PA, Friesen M, Gaudreault P, Gosselin S, Laliberté M, Larocque A, St-Onge M

Reviewers: Elliott A, Mackenzie C, Murphy N, Letarte A, Pursell R, Thompson M, Yarema M

Last updated : 2022-12-13