Syrup of Ipecac
Syrup of ipecac is a substance that induces
vomiting as a means to prevent more serious effects of poisoning. It is usually
given in an emergency room or physicians office but can also be given at home
on the advice of a physician or Poison Control Center. In recent years, a common
practice has been to give parents ipecac as part of preventive health care and to
instruct them to call the local Poison Control Center for directions on its use.
Review of syrup of Ipecac
Study design and target population
|Before and after design.
Households in Robeson County, NC, with preschool
children (number of households not given).
|Syrup of ipecac distribution to target families, along
with instructions and educational materials.
|Emergency room visits and hospital admissions for poisoning
before and after intervention.
|ER visits declined by 25%, from 20 (before) to 15 (after).
Hospital admissions declined by 55%, from 9 (before)
to 4 (after).
Study quality and conclusions
|Study results based on very small numbers and very
short periods of time.
True effect of intervention cannot be ascertained
from data; actual use of syrup of ipecac post-intervention not determined.
Summary of ipecac studies
The one study looking at the effect of syrup
of ipecac on reducing poisoning bases its results on very small numbers, and doesnt
have any data to support the indication that the intervention actually increased
the use of the agent.
Recommendations on ipecac programs
At this time, no recommendation can be made
on programs to increase the use of syrup of ipecac.
Recommendations on future research
There is a need for large-scale randomized
controlled studies on the distribution of ipecac to families, examining the impact
on emergency room visits and hospitalizations.