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Why do people take activated charcoal?

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People take activated charcoal to manage a poisoning or overdose.

When used along with other treatments, activated charcoal may be effective for an acute poisoning, but it is not useful in some cases, including poisoning from:

  • Cyanide
  • Lithium
  • Alcohol
  • Iron tablets

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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How is activated charcoal used for poisons?

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