Objectives. High-gram drug doses seen in multiple-drug poisonings might be close to the adsorption capacity of activated charcoal (AC). The aim was to determine the maximum adsorption capacities (Q(m)) of amitriptyline and paracetamol, separately and in combination, to AC. Methods. ACs (Carbomix® and Norit Ready-To-Use) were tested in vitro. At pH 1.2 and pH 7.2, 0.250 g AC and paracetamol and/or amitriptyline were mixed and incubated. The AC: drug ratios were 10:1, 5:1, 3:1, 2:1, and 1:1. The mixed-drug adsorption vials contained the same AC: paracetamol ratios, but amitriptyline was added as fixed dose (0.080 g) to all samples. Drug concentrations in the liquid phase were analyzed using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)/UV-detection. Results. Q(m), amitriptyline, were 0.49 g/g Carbomix® and 0.70 g/g Norit Ready-To-Use, and Q(m), paracetamol, were 0.63 g/g Carbomix® and 0.72 g/g Norit Ready-To-Use. The tested pH differences had minor effect on the adsorption. The mixed-drug adsorption showed about 40% Q(m) reduction of each drug with increasing amounts of drug/g AC, but the total gram of drug adsorbed to AC was increased compared to one-drug conditions. Conclusion. The adsorption of the two compounds to AC seems to compete resulting in lower maximum adsorption capacity for both drugs when mixed. However, a great adsorptive capacity was noted and might be explained by adsorption of the drugs to different AC surface sites. Furthermore, the Norit Ready-To-Use preparation, with less volume and total weight for the same AC dose as Carbomix®, showed a higher Q(m). This might be clinically significant in terms of preventing nausea, vomiting, and subsequent aspiration.
Clinical Toxicology, 2010, Vol 48, Issue 9, p. 898-903