Charcoal

Generic Name: charcoal (CHAR-kole/sye-METH-i-kone)
Brand Name: Examples include Bicarsim and Bicarsim Forte

Charcoal is used for:

Relieving pressure, bloating, and gas in the digestive tract. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Charcoal is an antiflatulent and adsorbent combination. It works by breaking up gas bubbles, which makes the gas easier to eliminate.

Do NOT use charcoal if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in charcoal

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using charcoal:

Some medical conditions may interact with charcoal. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with charcoal. However, no specific interactions with charcoal are known at this time.

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if charcoal may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use charcoal:

Use charcoal as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take charcoal as needed after meals and at bedtime, unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
  • Charcoal may interfere with the absorption of many other medicines. Talk to your doctor about taking charcoal 2 hours before or after taking any other medicine.
  • If you miss a dose of charcoal and you are using it regularly, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use charcoal.

Important safety information:

  • Do not exceed the recommended dose without checking with your doctor.
  • If your condition persists, contact your doctor.
  • Charcoal may cause your stools to turn black.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant while taking charcoal, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using charcoal during pregnancy. It is unknown if charcoal is excreted in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you are taking charcoal, check with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of charcoal:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Constipation; diarrhea; temporary darkening of the stool; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue).

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of charcoal:

Store charcoal at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Avoid temperatures above 104 degrees F (40 degrees C). Keep charcoal out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about charcoal, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Charcoal is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take charcoal or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about charcoal. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to charcoal. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using charcoal.

Issue Date: December 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.4.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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