Baton Rouge — The American Academy of Pediatrics has swallowed its longtime stance on ipecac syrup, now recommending that parents avoid having the drug in their homes.
The syrup is made from the medicinal ipecac plant and is commonly used to induce vomiting in instances where children have ingested a poisonous substance. First-aid guides long have advised parents to keep the syrup handy in case of accidental poisoning.
However, a policy statement issued in the November issue of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics journal, now cites reasons ipecac syrup may do more harm than good. The statement cites varied effectiveness in removing a toxin from a child’s system by using ipecac, intentional misuse of ipecac by child abusers and people who are bulimic and possible risks associated with its use, including the possibility of seizures, aspiration or damage to the esophagus and digestive system from vomiting a caustic substance, as reasons the drug should be removed from homes.
In addition to the American Academy of Pediatrics policy, an advisory panel for the Food and Drug administration also is recommending ipecac no longer be available over the counter and that the syrup can be purchased by prescription only.
If a child has ingested a toxic substance, parents are advised to call 911, seek treatment at the nearest emergency health care facility or contact the local poison control center before giving the child ipecac or any other vomit-inducing substance.