Effects of emetic and cathartic agents on the gastrointestinal tract and the treatment of toxic ingestion

Journal of Toxicology. Clinical Toxicology
J J Stewart


Emetic drugs and saline cathartics produce direct or reflex changes in gastrointestinal motility. The changes in gastrointestinal smooth muscle function may be important in the rapid oral or rectal expulsion of gastrointestinal contents, effects which serve as a basis for emetic and cathartic drug use in the treatment of toxic ingestion. Because of difficulties in recording gastrointestinal smooth muscle contractile activity from the intact, unanesthetized animal or man, relatively few studies have attempted to characterize the changes in gastrointestinal motility preceding vomiting. Limited results from past studies and the results of more recent studies employing improved technology suggest that pharmacological activation of the emetic reflex is accompanied by characteristic movements of the stomach and small intestine. The gastric response consists of initial muscle relaxation and an expansion of gastric volume. The intestine responds with a contraction, which begins in the distal ileum and migrates orad over the entire small intestine immediately before active retching. The changes in gastric and intestinal motility may be initiated by structures in the central nervous system and may be an important component of the emetic ...Continue Reading


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Jan 1, 1983·Journal of Toxicology. Clinical Toxicology·P J NeuvonenS Lankinen
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