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December 1959

Ipecac Is Not Innocuous

Author Affiliations

San Rafael, Calif.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1959;98(6):786-787. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1959.02070020788016

Ipecac syrup and ipecac fluidextract are commonly used for a variety of reasons in pediatric practice.

This brief history of the difficulties following the ingestion of ipecac fluidextract is presented as a reminder of the differences between ipecac fluidextract and ipecac syrup, and the potential toxicity of each.

A 2½-year-old child, a son of a physician, ingested approximately six 4 mg. chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) maleate tablets. The father, a surgeon then on rounds at the local hospital, consulted with a group of three pediatricians as to what would be appropriate therapy. It was the agreed consensus that the child should be given "ipecac," a teaspoonful every five minutes until vomiting ensued. The father obtained from the local hospital pharmacy a bottle of ipecac, fluidextract, dispensed by a substitute pharmacist who was on duty for this one day only. The near catastrophe that followed points up the fact that ipecac is not