June 1988

The Case for Ipecac Syrup

Author Affiliations

Division of Critical Care Department of Pediatrics University of Utah and Primary Children's Medical Center 320 12th Ave Salt Lake City, UT 84103; College of Pharmacy University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT 84132

Am J Dis Child. 1988;142(6):596. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1988.02150060030020

Methods of gastric decontamination have generated controversy among physicians treating toxin-related emergencies. A number of methods of decontamination exist, including induced emesis (by ipecac syrup, mild detergents, or apomorphine), nasogastric or orogastric lavage, and oral activated charcoal. No distinct advantages in effectiveness have been attributed to any of these methods in particular.

Charcoal is currently experiencing a resurgence of support in some publications1 and has been suggested by some authors as a replacement for emesis as a method of decontamination for nonacute poisonings. This may contribute to confusion by some practitioners and consumers who are concerned about the appropriate role of emesis in the management of poisoned patients. In some situations the characteristics of activated charcoal may make it the most appropriate mode of decontamination. Intoxication with a substance that has a rapid onset of toxicity and for which emesis would be contraindicated

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