Bulimia: Misuse of Ipecac Syrup

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Topic Overview

Syrup of ipecac is a medicine that causes vomiting. It works by irritating the stomach lining until a person vomits. Some people who have bulimia nervosa use ipecac regularly to make themselves vomit. Misuse of ipecac can cause:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Coughing or choking.
  • Low blood pressure and a rapid heartbeat.
  • Chest and stomach pain.
  • Breathing problems.

If ipecac is misused, it can cause serious heart problems, such as cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation, or myocarditis, all of which can lead to death.

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Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerW. Stewart Agras, MD, FRCPC - Psychiatry

Current as ofFebruary 29, 2016