Idea Exchange: Ice cream makes charcoal administration a treat

Article

Administering oral activated charcoal (ToxiBan--Vet-A-Mix) to a 120-lb dog that doesn't want it can be difficult.

Administering oral activated charcoal (ToxiBan—Vet-A-Mix) to a 120-lb dog that doesn't want it can be difficult. So I mix a quart of vanilla ice cream with each bottle of charcoal. Dogs are usually happy to eat this mixture, and I don't end up looking like a chimney sweep.

Dr. Shirley S. Koshi

New York City, N.Y.

Ice cream makes charcoal administration a treat

Reviewer's comments: Palatability of activated charcoal preparations can make administration difficult. One in vitro study evaluated the effect of ice cream and a food mixture on the adsorption capacity of activated charcoal, as measured by acetaminophen adsorption.1 Ice cream increased the palatability of the activated charcoal but also reduced the adsorption capacity. However, the reduction of adsorption capacity was overcome by giving a greater dose of charcoal. Activated charcoal with a higher surface area had less reduction in adsorption capacity than charcoal with a lower surface area.1

Activated charcoal can be mixed with ice cream, and I recommend that the charcoal dose be increased if ice cream is mixed with it. Also, I advise using a charcoal slurry preparation with a high surface area (1,000 m2/g).

REFERENCE

1. Hoegberg LC, Angelo HR, Christophersen AB, et al. The effect of food and ice cream on the adsorption capacity of paracetamol to high surface activated charcoal: in vitro studies. Pharmacol Toxicol 2003;93:233-237.

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