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Emetics: Copper sulphate, Sodium potassium tartrate

Anything that triggers nausea and vomiting is an emetic. As a result of swallowing certain toxins, emetics are sometimes used to treat poisoning.


Anything that triggers nausea and vomiting is an emetic. As a result of swallowing certain toxins, emetics are sometimes used to treat poisoning. Even though it is now widely discouraged for this purpose, ipecac syrup remains the most commonly used drug. In addition to being available in a non-prescription form, it is also available as a Food and Drug Administration-approved prescription form. Brazil and Central America are home to Carapichea ipecacuanha. Weight loss should not be accomplished by using ipecac to induce vomiting. When used regularly for this purpose, the patient may suffer heart problems or even die. Activated charcoal is the preferred treatment for poisonings; Ipecac is no longer recommended. The medication can be taken orally for 15 minutes if vomiting hasn't occurred within that timeframe.

Emetic agents function in two ways:
1. The digestive system is directly affected by them: Indirectly, they may act on the gastrointestinal tract by inducing local irritation in the gastric mucosa.

2. The brain is affected indirectly: Chemoreceptor trigger zones are located in the area near the medulla of the postrenal area and are stimulated when chemicals like acetylcholine, dopamine, and substance P are released. These chemicals cause vomiting by activating the vomiting center in the brain.

Copper sulfate

This chemical is commonly found in chemistry and crystal growing sets as a fungicide, herbicide, and commercial chemical. It has a white anhydrous form is pentahydrate, while a blue one is anhydrous.

Toxicity - Despite its highly oxidizing properties, copper sulfate is an irritating mucoid irritant. Following ingestion, it is difficult to cite a dose-response effect, but approximately 10 g may cause death in an adult (Akintonwa et al, 1989). Copper sulfate-containing pesticides cause hepatic poisoning and pulmonary toxicity when inhaled. It is known that copper sulfate causes contact sensitivity.


Moderate/substantial ingestion - An abdominal pain and diarrhea follow within minutes along with nausea, vomiting, and a metallic taste. It is possible to have blue/green secretions. There is the possibility of haematemesis and/or melaena with hypovolemic shock with severe gastrointestinal irritation. A serious poisoning leads to renal failure, intravascular hemolysis (usually manifested 24 to 48 hours after the poisoning takes place), and possibly coma, As a result of severe poisoning, renal failure develops, as well as hemolysis (usually manifested 24-48 hours after poisoning) and obstructive damage to the liver. Methemoglobinemia, coma, convulsions, rhabdomyolysis, muscle weakness, and cardiac arrhythmia are described in the text. Patients who are obtruded are at high risk of aspirating their gastric contents.

Ingestion - An ingestion of just a few milligrams should only cause nausea and vomiting.

Dermal – it can be a mild irritative for intact skin. Because of the regular application to the broken skin, a systemic copper uptake might result.

Sodium potassium tartrate

The chemical/molecular formula for sodium potassium tartrate is – C4H4O6KNa.4H2O. In total it has twelve hydrogen atoms, ten oxygen atoms, four carbon atoms, one sodium atom, and one potassium atom.


  • To break the emulsions, this product is highly used.
  • It is a common precipitant used in protein crystallography.
  • It is also used to coat the paper of cigarettes.
  • It is also used during the electroplating process as well
  • Highly used during silvering of mirrors.
  • It helps in maintaining the pH
  • It is involved as one of the ingredients in Fehling's solution.
  • Additionally, it can be used as a laxative


In the porcelain dish, a precisely weighed quantity of the chemical is carbonized. Water and sulfuric acid are used to remove the residue. The residue is rinsed with additional water after the solution has been filtered. Using methyl orange as an indicator, the filtrate and washings are mixed and titrated for excess acid with sodium hydroxide.
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Ankur Choudhary is India's first professional pharmaceutical blogger, author and founder of pharmaguideline.com, a widely-read pharmaceutical blog since 2008. Sign-up for the free email updates for your daily dose of pharmaceutical tips.
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