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emetic (əmĕtˈĭk) [key], substance that produces vomiting. Direct, or gastric, emetics, which act directly on the stomach, include syrup of ipecac, sulfate of zinc or copper, alum, ammonium carbonate, mustard in water, or copious quantities of warm saltwater. Indirect, or systemic, emetics, such as apomorphine, induce vomiting by acting indirectly through the blood on the brain center that controls vomiting. Emetics are not used to treat poisoning by strong acids or alkalis, petroleum distillates such as kerosene, or substances causing convulsions.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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