Charcoal tablets are available over-the-counter as a supplement and generally used for stomach upset, bloating, diarrhea and high cholesterol. Even in the past, charcoal has been used as a remedy for acute toxic poisoning and intestinal ailments. It can also be used in treating severe poisoning from some substances.
It is important to note that charcoal tablets can help eliminate substances including dyes, pesticides or common medications. The tablets can get rid of most substances due to their large surface area, but not effective for removing simple ions, alcohols and caustics. Many do not have any side effects if the tablets are used, but there are potential adverse reactions.
What are the side effects?
The general effects of charcoal tablets include the following:
- Dark-colored stools
- Stomach upset
Other possible effects include constipation, bowel obstruction and abdominal swelling. A doctor should be consulted if an individual starts to experience these effects.
Seek immediate medical care if there are indications of a severe allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, hives and swollen face, lips, throat or tongue. Call for emergency assistance in such cases.
Other considerations to bear in mind
A doctor must be consulted before charcoal tablets are used. The medical history of the individual should be disclosed to the doctor especially if he/she has a history of kidney or liver disease or other serious ailments or drug allergies.
Additionally, ice cream, milk, marmalade or sherbet might negatively interact with charcoal tablets which reduces their effectiveness.