Combination of oral activated charcoal plus low protein diet as a new alternative for handling in the old end-stage renal disease patients

Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl. 2010 Jan;21(1):102-4.


Chronic dialysis is a valid therapeutic option in very elderly ESRD patients, even though the decision to dialyze or not has little impact on survival. Additionally, very old patients usually do not agree with starting chronic dialysis. Even though, activated charcoal is a cheap treatment for working as adsorbent for nitrogenous products its utility is very limited. We studied the combination of a low protein diet and oral activated charcoal to reduce serum urea and creatinine levels in very old ESRD patients who had refused to start chronic dialysis. Nine lucid, very old > 80 years, ESRD patients who had refused to start dialysis were prescribed a treatment based on a combination of a very low protein diet and oral activated charcoal (30 gram/day). None of the patients had anuria, oliguria, edema, significant metabolic acidosis or hyperkalemia. None of them had significant gastrointestinal symptoms. After one week and ten months of charcoal use significant decrease in blood urea and creatinine levels was observed and none of them required emergency dialysis during this time. In conclusion, in patients more than 80 years of age low protein diet and oral activated charcoal may control the uremic symptoms effectively.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Age Factors
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Charcoal / administration & dosage*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Diet, Protein-Restricted*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / blood
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / diet therapy
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Treatment Refusal
  • Urea / blood
  • Uremia / etiology
  • Uremia / therapy


  • Biomarkers
  • Charcoal
  • Urea
  • Creatinine