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How does activated charcoal interact with medication?

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Activated charcoal may reduce or prevent the absorption of certain drugs. This may include drugs such as:

  • Acetaminophen
  • Digoxin
  • Theophylline
  • Tricyclic antidepressants

Do not use activated charcoal as a supplement if you take these medications. Activated charcoal may also reduce absorption of certain nutrients.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does regulate dietary supplements; however, it treats them like foods rather than medications. Unlike drug manufacturers, the makers of supplements don’t have to show their products are safe or effective before selling them on the market.

Be sure to tell your doctor about any supplement you're taking, even if it's natural. That way, your doctor can check on any potential side effects or interactions with medications, foods, or other herbs and supplements. He or she can let you know if the supplement might increase your risks.

From: Activated Charcoal WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database: "Activated Charcoal."

Clinical Toxicology , 2005.

Eddelston, M. . Feb. 16, 2008. The Lancet

Neuvonen, P. January-December 1988. Medical Toxicology and Adverse Drug Experience,

National Capital Poison Center: "What is Ipecac Syrup?"

MD Consult Database.

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on February 11, 2019

SOURCES:

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database: "Activated Charcoal."

Clinical Toxicology , 2005.

Eddelston, M. . Feb. 16, 2008. The Lancet

Neuvonen, P. January-December 1988. Medical Toxicology and Adverse Drug Experience,

National Capital Poison Center: "What is Ipecac Syrup?"

MD Consult Database.

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on February 11, 2019

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