Syrup of IpecacWhat is syrup of ipecac?
Syrup of ipecac is an emetic (an agent used to cause vomiting) made from the dried root of a plant called ipecacuanha, which is grown in Brazil.
Keep syrup of ipecac on hand in case of emergencies, but keep it out of the reach of children. It should be used only under the direction of a poison control center.
When to use syrup of ipecac:
Vomiting may be dangerous in some cases. Use syrup of ipecac only after your child's physician, poison control center or other healthcare professional instructs you to do so. Syrup of ipecac is not used for:
- Ingestion of corrosive products such as strong acids (i.e., toilet bowl cleaners) or strong alkalis (i.e., lye and drain cleaners). These products can burn the mouth or throat; in these cases, vomiting can lead to more damage.
- Ingestion of products that contain petroleum solvents, pine oils, polishes and candle oils. These products can be inhaled into the lungs, causing pneumonia and the problem may worsen if vomiting occurs.
- A child who is becoming drowsy, having seizures or is unconscious.
- A child who may have ingested a medication that could make them drowsy or experience a seizure.
- Children younger than 6 months of age.
How to give syrup of ipecac:
- Give syrup of ipecac in the amount recommended by the poison control center or your child's physician.
- Have your child drink a glass of water as well - a full stomach makes vomiting quicker and easier.
- Catch the vomit in a large container to be saved for inspection. Keep it until your child's physician or the poison center tells you to throw it away.
- Vomiting usually occurs within 20 minutes. If vomiting does not occur within 20 to 30 minutes, call the poison center or your child's physician again for further instructions. Sometimes, a second dose of syrup of ipecac is needed.
- Stay in touch with the poison control center or your child's physician for any needed follow-up care.
- You may be advised to give your child syrup of ipecac and bring your child into an emergency department, especially when the poison is very dangerous. If the substance poses significant risk, then as a rule the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin Poison Center will not use ipecac.
Be sure to keep the phone number of your local poison control center and ambulance service posted near your telephone. Make sure everyone in the family, as well as babysitters, know how to call for help.
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