An emetic is a substance which induces VOMITING (emesis). Emetics were previously used for gut decontamination in the treatment of poisoning but are now considered obsolete. This is because the eﬃcacy of emesis as a means of gut decontamination is unproved; there is a delay between administration and actual emesis, during which time continued absorption of the poison may occur; and some emetics have eﬀects other than vomiting which may mask the clinical features of the ingested poison. The most commonly used emetic was syrup of ipecacuanha (ipecac). Salt (sodium chloride) water emetics were also used but there are many cases of fatal HYPERNATRAEMIA resulting from such use and salt water emetics should never be given. The most common method of gut decontamination currently used is the administration of activated CHARCOAL.
Article Categories:Medical Dictionary