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activated charcoal oral

Xanthine Derivatives/Charcoal

This information is generalized and not intended as specific medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional before taking or discontinuing any drug or commencing any course of treatment.

Medical warning:

Moderate. These medicines may cause some risk when taken together. Contact your healthcare professional (e.g. doctor or pharmacist) for more information.

How the interaction occurs:

Charcoal may decrease the amount of theophylline your body absorbs.

What might happen:

Levels of theophylline in the blood may be decreased, making the theophylline less effective.

What you should do about this interaction:

Make sure that your healthcare professionals (e.g. doctor or pharmacist) know which medicines you are currently taking. These medicines may be given together in the case of an overdose of theophylline. Your doctor may check blood levels for theophylline. The dose of theophylline may be adjusted or given two to three hours before the charcoal to prevent a decreased effect if the charcoal is not being given for a theophylline overdose.Your healthcare professionals may already be aware of this interaction and may be monitoring you for it. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with them first.


1.Sintek C, Hendeles L, Weinberger M. Inhibition of theophylline absorption by activated charcoal. J Pediatr 1979 Feb;94(2):314-6.
2.Helliwell M, Berry D. Theophylline absorption by effervescent activated charcoal (Medicoal). J Int Med Res 1981;9(3):222-5.
3.Ginoza GW, Strauss AA, Iskra MK, Modanlou HD. Potential treatment of theophylline toxicity by high surface area activated charcoal. J Pediatr 1987 Jul;111(1):140-2.
4.Goldberg MJ, Spector R, Park GD, Johnson GF, Roberts P. The effect of sorbitol and activated charcoal on serum theophylline concentrations after slow-release theophylline. Clin Pharmacol Ther 1987 Jan;41(1):108-11.
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8.Mahutte CK, True RJ, Michiels TM, Berman JM, Light RW. Increased serum theophylline clearance with orally administered activated charcoal. Am Rev Respir Dis 1983 Nov;128(5):820-2.
9.Radomski L, Park GD, Goldberg MJ, Spector R, Johnson GF, Quee CK. Model for theophylline overdose treatment with oral activated charcoal. Clin Pharmacol Ther 1984 Mar;35(3):402-8.
10.Gal P, Miller A, McCue JD. Oral activated charcoal to enhance theophylline elimination in an acute overdose. JAMA 1984 Jun 15; 251(23):3130-1.
11.Sessler CN, Glauser FL, Cooper KR. Treatment of theophylline toxicity with oral activated charcoal. Chest 1985 Mar;87(3):325-9.
12.Davis R, Ellsworth A, Justus RE, Bauer LA. Reversal of theophylline toxicity using oral activated charcoal. J Fam Pract 1985 Jan;20(1):73-4.
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14.Shannon M, Amitai Y, Lovejoy FH Jr. Multiple dose activated charcoal for theophylline poisoning in young infants. Pediatrics 1987 Sep; 80(3):368-70.
15.Minton NA, Glucksman E, Henry JA. Prevention of drug absorption in simulated theophylline overdose. Hum Exp Toxicol 1995 Feb;14(2):170-4.
16.Minton NA, Henry JA. Prevention of drug absorption in simulated theophylline overdose. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol 1995;33(1):43-9.
17.Jain R, Tholl DA. Activated charcoal for theophylline toxicity in a premature infant on the second day of life. Dev Pharmacol Ther 1992; 19(2-3):106-10.

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