Pharmacokinetic simulation of the effect of multiple-dose activated charcoal in phenytoin poisoning—report of two pediatric cases

Michael D. Reed, Jill G. Dolgin, David E. Nix, Javier Sanchez, William A. Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

8 Scopus citations


Activated charcoal is commonly used to inhibit the absorption of phenytoin after acute overdose. There are also reports of multiple-dose activated charcoal (MDAC) increasing the clearance of phenytoin in adults. We describe our experience modeling phenytoin pharmacokinetics during therapy with MDAC in the treatment of two cases of acute phenytoin poisoning in children. After extensive attempts at modeling the serum phenytoin concentrations, simulations were performed to identify the possible consequences of MDAC administration. Phenytoin elimination was more rapid than was expected, based on previously reported phenytoin pharmacokinetic parameters. Moreover, the time to peak phenytoin concentration and time course of phenytoin intoxication appeared to be shorter than available reports of phenytoin intoxication treated with a single dose of activated charcoal. MDAC may prevent continued phenytoin absorption and increase phenytoin elimination rate via gastrointestinal dialysis. The effect of MDAC on the clearance of phenytoin can be described by a first-order elimination rate constant of approximately 0.02–0.04/h.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)646-649
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Pharmacotherapy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1991
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)

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