Jan 22, 2001: Should single-dose activated charcoal (SDAC) be routinely administered following a potentially toxic ingestion?

The goal of administration of SDAC is absorption of the poison in the GI tract in an attempt to decrease absorption and systemic toxicity.  However, there is no data to confirm that administration of AC improves outcome.  The main complication of AC administration is emesis and aspiration.  The Position Statements state the following:

          1.       SDAC should not be administrated routinely to poisoned patients.

          2.       The effectiveness of administration decreases with time.

          3.       The greatest benefit is within one hour of ingestion.

Therefore, MTPC does not recommend the routine administration of SDAC to poisoned patients.