Daily Bolus of LR: Activated Charcoal

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January 14, 2012 by dailybolusoflr

Activated Charcoal

· The most common agent used to decontaminate the GI tract

· Works by adsorbing the toxin within the gut lumen and enhancing elimination by establishing a free-drug concentration gradient which encourages movement of drug into the GI lumen

· Can also bind substances in bile and interrupt enterohepatic circulation

· Given orally at a dose of 1g/kg (starting dose also in multidose use)

· Often given in conjunction with cathartics, which are used to decrease transit time of the activated charcoal throughout the GI tract

o Sorbitol is the most commonly used (1g/kg) cathartic and can be used with first dose of charcoal

o Do not use in children under the age of 5

· Do NOT use:

o Suspected esophageal or gastric perforation

o Caustic ingestion where urgent endoscopy may be needed

o Toxins does not bind to charcoal: iron, lithium, lead

Ref: Tintinalli, 6th ed

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