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Syrup of ipecac was a once widely used emetic that is now falling into disuse because of its side effects and the lack of clinical effectiveness for many of the conditions for which it was once used. It is made from a diluted preparation of the dried roots of the toxic ipecacuana plant in a solution of alcohol, glycerine, sugar syrup and a preservative, methylparaben. It works by irritating the mucous membranes of the digestive tract and simultaneously stimulating that part of the brain that induces vomiting. It was first known to have been used as an emetic until the 18th century and was widely used until the early 20th century.
Ipecac was once recommended to induce vomiting in children who had been accidentally poisoned, but this use is no longer recommended as the clinical outcomes in accidental poisoning cases are nearly identical whether vomiting is induced or not. In addition, it induces lethargy, which can often delay a diagnosis as it can be mistaken for a symptom of the underlying poison.
Ipecac is a clue in one episode of House M.D. - Critical Cases