Times past, it was recommended that families with children keep a bottle of ipecac on the shelf, in case Junior ingested something poisonous. Ipecac will reliably cause vomiting about 20-30 minutes after it’s given, so the idea was that you could at least get your child to vomit back the poison.
We know now that advice to keep ipecac handy and use it after poisonous ingestions was wrong. Though it does cause vomiting, that 20-30 minute lag in effectiveness means that in many cases, the poison has already been absorbed, or has at least traveled beyond the stomach so it can’t be brought back up. Some ingested things cause as much damage on the way out as when they were eaten, and vomiting them will only make things worse. Most importantly, drinking ipecac will prevent emergency physicians from being able to use truly effective treatments for ingestion, such as activated charcoal or medical antidotes. There are current no situations where national poison control centers advice the use of ipecac, and the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend parents keep ipecac in their house.
If you think someone has ingested something poisonous, your best next step is to call the nationwide poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 in the US. Try to have the most important information available to discuss: what was ingested, when was it ingested, who took it, and how much was ingested. They’ll tell you what steps to take, whether you need to go to the ER, or what to monitor at home.
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Read the Original Article: Goodbye Ipecac