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charcoal (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking charcoal?

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

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

  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease; or
  • any type of serious illness.

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 charcoal is harmful to an unborn baby. Before you take charcoal, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether charcoal 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 charcoal. 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 charcoal?

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 charcoal tablet or capsule. Swallow the pill whole.

Charcoal is usually taken after meals or at the first sign of stomach discomfort.

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

Store charcoal at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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