Position statement: ipecac syrup. American Academy of Clinical Toxicology; European Association of Poisons Centres and Clinical Toxicologists

J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 1997;35(7):699-709. doi: 10.3109/15563659709162567.


In preparing this Position Statement, all relevant scientific literature was identified and reviewed critically by acknowledged experts using agreed criteria. Well-conducted clinical and experimental studies were given precedence over anecdotal case reports and abstracts were not usually considered. A draft Position Statement was then produced and subjected to detailed peer review by an international group of clinical toxicologists chosen by the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology and the European Association of Poisons Centres and Clinical Toxicologists. The Position Statement went through multiple drafts before being approved by the boards of the two societies and being endorsed by other societies. The Position Statement includes a summary statement for ease of use and is supported by detailed documentation which describes the scientific evidence on which the Statement is based. Syrup of ipecac should not be administered routinely in the management of poisoned patients. In experimental studies the amount of marker removed by ipecac was highly variable and diminished with time. There is no evidence from clinical studies that ipecac improves the outcome of poisoned patients and its routine administration in the emergency department should be abandoned. There are insufficient data to support or exclude ipecac administration soon after poison ingestion. Ipecac may delay the administration or reduce the effectiveness of activated charcoal, oral antidotes, and whole bowel irrigation. Ipecac should not be administered to a patient who has a decreased level or impending loss of consciousness or who has ingested a corrosive substance or hydrocarbon with high aspiration potential.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Guideline
  • Practice Guideline
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / poisoning
  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antidotes / therapeutic use
  • Charcoal / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Contraindications
  • Emetics / therapeutic use*
  • Ferrous Compounds / poisoning
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Ipecac / adverse effects
  • Ipecac / therapeutic use*
  • Poisoning / drug therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Vomiting / chemically induced


  • Antidotes
  • Emetics
  • Ferrous Compounds
  • Charcoal
  • Acetaminophen
  • ferrous sulfate
  • Ipecac