PMID: 7109006Apr 1, 1982

Assessment of the efficacy of activated charcoal following gastric lavage in acute drug emergencies

Journal of Toxicology. Clinical Toxicology
E G ComstockT P Faulkner


The efficacy of administering a slurry of 100 g of activated charcoal (AC) via the gastric tube following lavage was assessed in 25 treated and 37 control patients presenting to the emergency room with chemical evidence of sedative-hypnotics or aspirin in the blood. Efficacy was evaluated as the ability of AC to prevent further absorption as determined by subsequent blood drug concentration changes. Although fewer patients in the AC group showed increased blood drug concentrations, the differences were not statistically significant. Comparison of the mean percent change in blood drug concentrations at various times following treatment produced similar results. Comparisons using subgroups of patients based on the individual drugs, the treatment delay time, and entering functional decompensation showed significant benefit from AC only in the less symptomatic patients. Comparing these results with other studies demonstrating the unequivocal efficacy of early (e.g., 30 min) treatment, it is concluded that the use of AC following lavage may often be too late to benefit most patients. The authors suggest that AC be given in the home, emergency vehicle, or immediately upon admission.


Jan 1, 1975·Clinical Toxicology·J W Hayden, E G Comstock
Jan 30, 1975·The New England Journal of Medicine·A R HansenL J Fischer
May 1, 1972·Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics·G Levy, T Tsuchiya
Sep 1, 1971·Clinical Toxicology·L R FaneW J Decker
May 1, 1970·Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology·L ChinB R Duplisse
Jun 1, 1971·The Journal of Pediatrics·R H FiserW J Decker
Nov 1, 1968·Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology·W J DeckerD G Corby
Sep 1, 1969·Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics·W J DeckerC E Payne
Nov 1, 1966·Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences·M L HendersonL Chin
May 1, 1981·Clinical Toxicology·E G ComstockB S Comstock
Jun 1, 1954·The Biochemical Journal·P TRINDER


May 22, 2010·Journal of Medical Toxicology : Official Journal of the American College of Medical Toxicology·Kent R Olson
Sep 1, 1989·Annals of Emergency Medicine·R M McNamaraS Davidheiser
Mar 17, 2007·Clinical Toxicology : the Official Journal of the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology and European Association of Poisons Centres and Clinical Toxicologists·P A ChykaHealthcare Systems Bureau, Health Resources and Sevices Administration, Department of Health and Human Services
Jul 26, 2005·QJM : Monthly Journal of the Association of Physicians·G M CooperN A Buckley

Related Concepts

Process of Absorption
Drug Evaluation
Emergencies [Disease/Finding]
Gastric Lavage
Sedative Effect

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