At its annual 2003 meeting, the AAP changed its long-standing recommendation on the use of syrup of ipecac
. Parents should no longer have a bottle at home.
Kornberg and Dolgin (1991) performed a prospective randomized study that examined the use of syrup of ipecac
before activated charcoal in one group of pediatric ingestions, versus the use of activated charcoal alone.
The family should also have a bottle of syrup of ipecac
. Ask the parents to show you where they keep the ipecac.
The ideal scenario for using syrup of ipecac
is the case in which a parent walks in, sees his or her 3-year-old eating large quantities of aspirin, and calls your office in a panic.
Post the poison control number in a visible location; keep syrup of ipecac
available if needed; educate your children; etc.
The study reports, "In several cases, caregivers who had previously administered syrup of ipecac
at home stated that they preferred activated charcoal because of the lack of persistent vomiting and associated mess."
A study of over 55,000 cases of children under 6-years-old who swallowed a drug found that over 90% of the cases could be managed at home if there was syrup of ipecac
in the home.
Syrup of ipecac
is easy to give to a child because it requires a small dose and has a mild taste.
Is it better to use syrup of ipecac
or activated charcoal in cases of accidental poisonings?
Over 50% of the providers said they had syrup of ipecac
on hand, but only half of them could locate the bottle and read the label to the interviewer.
Keep syrup of ipecac
on hand, in case your physician or poison control center instructs you to give it to your child to induce her to vomit and clear her stomach.
Syrup of ipecac
, which is available over-the-counter, is the drug usually used to produce vomiting.