DESPITE the use of ipecac powder and emetine hydrochloride in the treatment of various diseases, it is not generally appreciated that these chemicals may be locally irritating, and even severely toxic, to the ocular structures. In recent years evidence of a new interest in the potential danger of emetine hydrochloride has come to light in ophthalmologic literature.
Cushny1 stated that emetine (ipecacuanha) may cause nausea and vomiting, muscular weakness, depression, increased secretion of saliva and of mucus by the glands of the throat and the respiratory passages, often perspiration and generally temporary acceleration of the pulse, and that it possesses a powerful local irritant action, which is severer in some persons than in others. In a subject who has an idiosyncrasy to emetine the smallest amount of the powdered drug will cause swelling and injection of the conjunctival and nasal mucous membranes. When applied to the skin, the drug
LASKY MA. CORNEAL RESPONSE TO EMETINE HYDROCHLORIDE. Arch Ophthalmol. 1950;44(1):47-52. doi:10.1001/archopht.1950.00910020050004