Effect of activated charcoal on ethanol blood levels in dogs

Am J Hosp Pharm. 1981 Jun;38(6):864-6.


The effect of activated charcoal on ethanol blood levels following oral administration of ethanol was studied. Six healthy laboratory dogs were administered 2 ml/kg of 95% ethanol diluted to a 20% solution. Blood ethanol concentrations were measured at 0.5, 1.2, and 3 hours after dosing. After a one-week washout period, the same animals received an identical dose of ethanol preceded by 50 g of activated charcoal in a water slurry. Blood ethanol concentrations were again determined. Absorption of ethanol was significantly (p less than 0.005) inhibited by activated charcoal during the first hour after administration. Blood ethanol levels remained significantly lower (p less than 0.025) throughout the study in the activated charcoal group. Especially during the initial, critical hours of therapy, activated charcoal can significantly reduce the desired blood ethanol concentration required when ethanol is used as an emergency antidote for methanol or ethylene glycol poisonings. The use of activated charcoal is discouraged in poisoning emergencies where such oral-antidote therapy is necessary.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Animals
  • Antidotes / therapeutic use
  • Charcoal / pharmacology*
  • Dogs
  • Drug Interactions
  • Ethanol / blood*
  • Methanol / poisoning


  • Antidotes
  • Charcoal
  • Ethanol
  • Methanol