What Are Some Safe Over-the-Counter Emetics?

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Syrup of ipecac is the only emetic recommended by the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. It is available at most pharmacies and drug stores.

An emetic is a substance that induces vomiting in the subject who consumes it. The most common emetic today is syrup of ipecac, which may be administered orally or by injection. Syrup of ipecac itself is toxic, but the over-the-counter product is diluted so as to not be dangerous unless abused.

The main reason that most people need to use an emetic is in the event a child consumes a poisonous substance. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics urges caregivers of those who consumed a toxic substance to contact their local poison control center before taking other measures. It is easy to overdose a child with syrup of ipecac, so follow the instructions of the poison control center staff. Though the American Academy of Pediatrics states that ipecac is a safe emetic, they recommend removing the substance from your home.

Death rates due to child consumption of toxic substances in the United States has dropped significantly over the last 50 years. This is largely due to safer product packaging and consumer awareness of dangerous substances. It is also worth noting that many easily consumed poisonous products, such as rat poison, contain an emetic to increase the chance that the poisonous substance is removed from the body before being absorbed.