How effective is oral activated charcoal (AC) in the treatment of acetaminophen toxicity/poisoning?

Updated: Jan 17, 2020
  • Author: Susan E Farrell, MD; Chief Editor: Michael A Miller, MD  more...
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Answer

Oral AC may be of potential benefit longer than 1 hour after the ingestion if the ingestion involves an agent that delays gastric emptying or slows gastrointestinal (GI) motility. In one case series, oral AC administered with NAC 4 hours after ingestion was shown to be effective in reducing the incidence of transaminitis after toxic APAP ingestion. [36] However, it is well documented that the effectiveness of oral AC diminishes over time, especially beyond 60 minutes after a toxic ingestion. Administration of NAC is of highest priority in this case.


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