This section is from the "A Handbook of Useful Drugs" book, by State Medical Examining and Licensing Boards.
The dried root of Cephaelis Ipecacuanha, commercially known, as Rio. Brazilian or Para ipecac, or of C. acuminata. commercially known as Cartagena ipecac.
When assayed according to the method in the U. S. P., it should contain not less than 1.75 per cent, of ipecac alkaloids.
Action and Uses: When given by mouth in rather large doses, ipecac causes nausea and vomiting, chiefly through its local irritant action. It is, however, neither a very rapidly acting nor trustworthy emetic. Its use as such is almost entirely confined to pediatric practice.
In smaller doses it is nauseant and is used to promote the secretions of the respiratory tract.
Still smaller doses may act as stomachics through mild irritation of the gastric mucosa. When combined with opium, in the form of Dover's powder, ipecac is a diaphoretic.
Both ipecac and one of its principal alkaloids, emetin, are believed to be specific against amebic dysentery. In the treatment of this disease large doses of ipecac are required and opium or some other depressant drug often has to be given to prevent the occurrence of vomiting. Emetin, in the form of the hydrochlorid can, however, be given hypodermically in doses which correspond to very large amounts of the crude drug, and its administration does not cause nausea or vomiting. It is probably this alkaloid alone to which the specific action of ipecac in amebic dysentery is due.
Dosage: The expectorant dose of ipecac is 0.05 gm. or 1 grain. As an emetic 1 gm. or 15 grains may be given. For use in dysentery it may be given in salol-coated pills. The coating should not be too thick, lest too large a dose of salol be given. Ipecac may also be given, suspended in mucilage of acacia, by a duodenal catheter. In dysentery an initial dose of 2 gm. or 30 grains may be given and vomiting should be prevented by a previous hypodernic injection of morphin. The dose of emetin hydrochlorid for this purpose is 0.03 gm. or ½ grain.