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Activated Charcoal

Last updated on 18/03/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions   |   Tips   |   Where To Buy  

GENERIC NAME: Activated Charcoal

CHINESE NAME: 活性碳

BRAND NAME(S) IN HONG KONG: Charcodote, Charcoal BPC 1934, JL Bragg’s Medicinal Charcoal

DRUG CLASS: Adsorbent; Antidote

USED FOR: Treatment of acute oral poisoning, relieve symptoms of indigestion and intestinal pain

OTHER DRUGS IN THE SAME CLASS: N / A

AVAILABLE DOSAGE FORMS: 200mg, 300mg (tablets)

What is Activated Charcoal for?

Activated Charcoal is a medicine that can absorb poisons in the stomach and intestines. This prevents the poisons from being absorbed into your blood. It can be used for treating acute oral poisoning, or relieving symptoms of severe indigestion and intestinal pain caused by excessive gas. There are also health products containing Activated Charcoal as one of the ingredients, with suggestions to use for ‘detox’. However, there is limited scientific evidence to support the health benefits of taking an Activated Charcoal supplement.

How to use it?

As a medicinal product, Activated Charcoal can be either taken in conventional tablets or suspension. If you are taking a suspension form of Activated Charcoal, you can mix it with flavouring agents like coke or juices to make it more palatable. 

When used for indigestion or intestinal gas, the suggested adult dose of Activated Charcoal tablets is 2-4 tablets by mouth 3 times per day.

What are the side effects of Activated Charcoal?

Common side effects of Activated Charcoal include constipation, vomiting, and black stools.

Who should not take Activated Charcoal?

 Anyone with intestinal problems such as obstruction or recent surgery.

Pharmacist Tips:

Do not take food, supplements, or medicines within two hours of taking activated charcoal, since it can reduce the absorption of important nutrients and medicines.

Common dosing schedule:
Avoid taking activated charcoal with food as food may reduce the adsorbability of activated charcoal and its effectiveness in preventing poisons from being absorbed.

This schedule is for reference only, adjustments may be made according to individual needs.

Some common medications Activated Charcoal may interact with:
– Leflunomide

Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Activated Charcoal in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, Activated Charcoal is an over-the-counter medicine and can be purchased without a prescription from any retail outlet in Hong Kong. This includes grocery stores, convenience stores, medicine shops, and pharmacies. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.  

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at https://www.drugoffice.gov.hk/

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Activated Charcoal in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

 Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.