Skip to Content

The originating document has been archived. We cannot confirm the completeness, accuracy and currency of the content.

Activated charcoal suspension

Generic Name: activated charcoal (CHAR-kole)
Brand Name: Actidose-Aqua

Activated charcoal suspension is used for:

Treating poisoning or overdose in certain circumstances.

Activated charcoal suspension is an adsorbent. It works by binding with the poison in the stomach to decrease absorption of the poison into the body.

Do NOT use activated charcoal suspension if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in activated charcoal suspension

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

Before using activated charcoal suspension:

Some medical conditions may interact with activated charcoal suspension. 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 activated charcoal suspension. However, no specific interactions with activated charcoal suspension are known at this time.

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if activated charcoal suspension 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 activated charcoal suspension:

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

  • Shake well before using.
  • Use a measuring device marked for medicine dosing. Ask your pharmacist for help if you are unsure of how to measure this dose.
  • If you miss a dose of activated charcoal suspension, contact your doctor right away.

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

Important safety information:

  • Activated charcoal suspension may cause your stools to turn black.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant while taking activated charcoal suspension, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using activated charcoal suspension during pregnancy. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you are using activated charcoal suspension, check with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of activated charcoal suspension:

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; 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 activated charcoal suspension:

Store activated charcoal suspension at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Brief storage at temperatures between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C) is permitted. Keep activated charcoal suspension out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about activated charcoal suspension, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Activated charcoal suspension 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 activated charcoal suspension 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 activated charcoal suspension. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to activated charcoal suspension. 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 activated charcoal suspension.

Issue Date: June 3, 2015