HOW DO EMETIC AGENTS WORK?
Emetic agents are a class of medications used to induce nausea and vomiting for the emergency treatment of poisoning with certain toxins that have been swallowed. Although its use is now discouraged, the most commonly used drug for this purpose is ipecac syrup. It is prepared from the dried roots of Carapichea ipecacuanha, a plant indigenous to Brazil and Central America and is available both as a nonprescription product and an Food and Drug Administration-approved prescription product.
Ipecac is no longer recommended for poisonings; activated charcoal is the treatment of choice. It is administered orally (15-30 mL) and may be repeated once with 15 mL if vomiting does not occur within 20-30 mins.
Emetic agents work in the following two ways:
- Direct effect on the gastrointestinal tract:
- Indirect effect on the brain:
WHAT ARE SIDE EFFECTS OF EMETIC AGENTS?
Emetic agents can be unsafe when used for long term or in large amounts.
Common side effects include:
Other rare side effects include:
- Central nervous system (CNS) depression (depressed activity of the CNS characterized by feeling sleepy, blurred vision, and slurred speech)
- Pneumomediastinum (a condition in which air is present in the mediastinum (the space in the chest between the two lungs)
- Vomiting-induced vagal bradycardia (an overactive vagus nerve results in an abnormally low heart rate)
- Mallory-Weiss tear (tearing of the tissue of the lower esophagus, most often caused by violent coughing or vomiting)
Information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.
Digestive Disorders Resources