Does Activated Charcoal Interact With Wegovy?

In our latest question and answer, our pharmacist discusses whether or not there is an interaction between Wegovy and activated charcoal.

Question

Can I take activated charcoal if I am taking injectable Wegovy? Thank you.

Asked by Civey On Feb 17, 2024

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By HelloPharmacist Staff

Published Feb 20, 2024
Last updated Apr 10, 2024

Key points

  • There is no known interaction between Wegovy (semaglutide) and activated charcoal.
  • However, Rybelsus, an oral form of semaglutide, may be impacted by activated charcoal.

Answer

Thank you for your question! Activated charcoal has the potential to interact with a large variety of drugs, as demonstrated on its interaction overview page. We list nearly 2,000 possible interactions!

This large number of potential interactions is rooted in activated charcoal's ability to adsorb (i.e., bind to) many different types of drugs.

Activated charcoal works mainly in the gastrointestinal tract binding drugs that have not yet been absorbed and those that are diffusing or being transported back into the intestine from the bloodstream. This process can significantly decrease the total absorption and elimination half-life of these drugs, thereby potentially reducing their effectiveness.

Most interactions occur with orally-administered drugs, i.e., drugs ingested and absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract.

Generally, injectable drugs are understood to be safe for use alongside activated charcoal. These drugs predominantly bypass the gastrointestinal system; however, there are exceptions to this rule.

Does Activated Charcoal Interact With Injectable Drugs?

Our main concern is the combination of activated charcoal with oral drugs, given the risk of decreased absorption as I described above. However, there are some concerns regarding non-oral drugs as well.

Many drugs undergo what is known as enterohepatic circulation, where they are transported from the bloodstream back into the intestines. Through this mechanism, activated charcoal can reduce exposure to some drugs administered intravenously, such as amiodarone, ceftriaxone, lorazepam, methotrexate, and others. As such, some injectable drugs can indeed be impacted by the presence of activated charcoal in one's system.

Does Wegovy Interact with Activated Charcoal?

Wegovy is an injectable drug containing semaglutide. Semaglutide isn't known to undergo enterohepatic circulation to a clinically significant degree. Therefore, we wouldn't usually expect Wegovy to have any substantial interaction with activated charcoal.

However, it's worth noting that an oral form of semaglutide, Rybelsus, might be influenced by activated charcoal.

Apart from the well-documented impact of activated charcoal on oral drugs due to adsorption, Rybelsus also contains salcaprozate sodium (SNAC), an absorption enhancer. Research indicates that salcaprozate sodium undergoes enterohepatic recirculation and might be affected by activated charcoal. That being said, there haven't been any studies evaluating this specific interplay, but it is theoretically possible.

Conclusion

In summary, we wouldn't typically anticipate activated charcoal to impact Wegovy significantly due to its injectable nature and the limited enterohepatic circulation of its active ingredient, semaglutide.

Conversely, Rybelsus, the oral version of semaglutide, may potentially be affected by activated charcoal, given the enterohepatic circulation of one of its components, salcaprozate sodium and the fact Rybelsus is taken orally.

Thank you for your question, and please don't hesitate to reach out for more information!

References

  • PHARMACOLOGY/TOXICOLOGY NDA REVIEW AND EVALUATION - Semaglutide, AccessFDA
  • Wegovy Prescribing Information, AccessFDA
  • Position statement and practice guidelines on the use of multi-dose activated charcoal in the treatment of acute poisoning. American Academy of Clinical Toxicology; European Association of Poisons Centres and Clinical Toxicologists, PubMed
  • The role of activated charcoal and gastric emptying in gastrointestinal decontamination: a state-of-the-art review, PubMed
  • Influence of activated charcoal on the pharmacokinetics and the clinical features of carbamazepine poisoning, PubMed

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger, PharmD

Dr. Brian has been practicing pharmacy for over 13 years and has wide-ranging experiences in many different areas of the profession. From retail, clinical, program development, and administrative responsibilities, he's your knowledgeable and go-to source for all your pharmacy and medication-related questions! Dr. Brian Staiger also has herbalist training and educational certificates in the field of medical ethnobotany. Feel free to send him an email at [email protected]! You can also connect with Dr. Brian Staiger on LinkedIn.

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