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Insta-Char

Generic Name: charcoal (CHAR coal)
Brand Name: Actidose-Aqua, Activated Charcoal, Charcoal Plus DS, EZChar, Insta-Char, Liqui-Char, Optimum Charcoal

Medically reviewed on December 15, 2017

What is Insta-Char?

Insta-Char is used to treat stomach pain caused by excess gas, diarrhea, or indigestion.

Insta-Char also is used to relieve itching related to kidney dialysis treatment and to treat poisoning or drug overdose.

Insta-Char may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

You should not use this medication if you have ever had an allergic reaction to Insta-Char.

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have liver or kidney disease, or any type of serious illness.

In a poisoning or overdose situation, it may not be possible before you are treated to tell your caregivers about any health conditions you have or if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. However, make sure any doctor caring for you afterward knows that you have received this medication.

If you are taking Insta-Char at home to treat diarrhea, stop taking it and call your doctor if your diarrhea lasts longer than 2 days or you also have a fever.

Do not take Insta-Char with any other medicine. Take your dose of this medicine at least 2 hours before or 1 hour after a dose of any other medicine. This medicine binds to other drugs and can make them less effective, which could become dangerous.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use this medication if you have ever had an allergic reaction to Insta-Char.

If possible, before you receive Insta-Char, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take this medication.

It is not known whether Insta-Char is harmful to an unborn baby. Before you take this medicine, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether Insta-Char passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

In a poisoning or overdose situation, it may not be possible to tell your caregivers that you are pregnant or breast-feeding before you are treated with Insta-Char. However, make sure any doctor caring for your pregnancy or your baby knows that you have received the medication.

Do not give this medication to a child younger than 1 year old without the advice of a doctor.

How should I take Insta-Char?

Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take it in larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Take this medicine with a full glass (8 ounces) of water.

Do not crush, break, or chew a Insta-Char tablet or capsule. Swallow the pill whole.

Insta-Char is usually taken after meals or at the first sign of stomach discomfort.

Stop taking Insta-Char and call your doctor if your diarrhea lasts longer than 2 days or you also have a fever.

Store Insta-Char at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since Insta-Char is often taken only when needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are taking the medication regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to take the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

An overdose of Insta-Char is not likely to cause life-threatening symptoms.

What should I avoid while taking Insta-Char?

Do not take Insta-Char with any other medicine. Take your dose of this medicine at least 2 hours before or 1 hour after a dose of any other medicine. This medicine binds to other drugs and can make them less effective, which could become dangerous.

Insta-Char side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Insta-Char?

There may be other drugs that can interact with Insta-Char. Tell your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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