Beat The Heat SAVE 25% NOW
Registered Nurse (RN)
Pharmacological Nursing
Gastrointestinal Pharmacology
Activated Charcoal (Actidose)

Master Activated Charcoal (Actidose) with Picmonic for Nursing RN

With Picmonic, facts become pictures. We've taken what the science shows - image mnemonics work - but we've boosted the effectiveness by building and associating memorable characters, interesting audio stories, and built-in quizzing.

Activated Charcoal (Actidose)

Recommended Picmonics

picmonic thumbnail
Cimetidine and Famotidine (H2 Receptor Blockers)
picmonic thumbnail
Pancreatin, Pancrelipase (Pancreatic Enzymes)
picmonic thumbnail
Sucralfate (Carafate)
picmonic thumbnail
Promethazine (Phenergan)
picmonic thumbnail

Activated Charcoal (Actidose)

Lit Charcoal
Activated charcoal (Actidose) is an agent that binds to poisonous chemicals to prevent toxicity. This drug is indicated to remove ingested large molecule poisons containing carbon. Side effects may include black stools and GI distress characterized by cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting. Activated charcoal should be administered as soon as possible through oral or NG tube route. Administering this drug with an antidote may neutralize the anticipated effects.
Binds to Toxins
Binds to Toxic-barrel

Activated charcoal irreversibly binds to large toxic molecules containing carbon atoms. Toxins that bind to this drug include acetaminophen, aspirin, NSAIDs, and tricyclic antidepressants. This chemical has a poor affinity to substances, such as heavy metals, caustics, corrosives, alcohols, chlorine, lithium, cyanide, iodine, and petroleum distillates. Since charcoal cannot be absorbed into the blood, the toxins that bind to charcoal are excreted in black-colored stools. The binding of toxins to activated charcoal decreases the exposure time in the stomach and intestines.

Ingested Poison
Swallowed Poison from Poison-bottle

Since activated charcoal adsorbs certain chemicals, this agent is indicated to remove ingested poisons that may cause toxic effects. Because the degree of toxic removal decreases with time, activated charcoal should be administered as soon as possible after poison ingestion.

Black Stool
Black Intestine-stool

Since activated charcoal turns stools black, warn the patient that this is an expected and harmless side effect of the chemical.

GI Distress
GI with Flare-gun

Activated charcoal may cause GI distress, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or abdominal cramping. In some instances cathartics, such as sorbitol are administered with the first dose of activated charcoal to stimulate intestinal motility and increase elimination. Rapid administration of this drug may induce vomiting. Since GI distress is a common side effect, activated charcoal is contraindicated in patients with bowel perforation or obstruction.

Give As Soon As Possible

Activated charcoal should be administered as soon as possible after poison ingestion. Approximately 90% of the ingested poison may be adsorbed if activated charcoal is given within 30 minutes of exposure. This amount is decreased significantly if given 1 hour after toxin exposure.

Via Mouth or NG Tube
Mouth and Nose-stomach Tube

If the patient is alert and awake, activated charcoal is administered via mouth. This medication may be administered through an NG tube, if the patient cannot tolerate the taste or vomits the initial dose.

Gastric Lavage
Stomach Lava

The stomach may be pumped within 30 minutes of ingesting toxic substances. Activated charcoal is often administered after gastric lavage to remove any poisonous substances that have reached beyond the stomach.

Do Not Administer with Antidotes
Antidote-agent Not Allowed

Activated charcoal may absorb an antidote and neutralize their beneficial effects. Do not administer an antidote immediately before, during, or after giving the patient activated charcoal.


Take the Activated Charcoal (Actidose) Quiz

Picmonic's rapid review multiple-choice quiz allows you to assess your knowledge.

It's worth every penny

Our Story Mnemonics Increase Mastery and Retention

Memorize facts with phonetic mnemonics

Unforgettable characters with concise but impactful videos (2-4 min each)

Memorize facts with phonetic mnemonics

Ace Your Registered Nurse (RN) Classes & Exams with Picmonic:

Over 1,910,000 students use Picmonic’s picture mnemonics to improve knowledge, retention, and exam performance.

Choose the #1 Registered Nurse (RN) student study app.

Picmonic for Registered Nurse (RN) covers information that is relevant to your entire Registered Nurse (RN) education. Whether you’re studying for your classes or getting ready to conquer your NCLEX®-RN, Hesi, ATI, TEAS test, Kaplan exams, we’re here to help.

Works better than traditional Registered Nurse (RN) flashcards.

Research shows that students who use Picmonic see a 331% improvement in memory retention and a 50% improvement in test scores.