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Bismuth subsalicylate suspension

Pronunciation

Generic Name: bismuth subsalicylate (BIZ-muth SUB-sa-LIS-i-late)
Brand Name: Examples include Kaopectate and Pepto-Bismol

Bismuth subsalicylate suspension is used for:

Treating heartburn, upset stomach, indigestion, nausea, gas, diarrhea, or symptoms associated with eating or drinking too much. It may also be used to decrease the number of bowel movements and make the stool firmer. It may also be used to treat other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Bismuth subsalicylate suspension is a salicylate. Exactly how it works is not known. It is thought to limit secretions in the digestive tract, reduce inflammation in the stomach and intestines, and inhibit the growth of certain bacteria and viruses that can cause intestinal tract diseases.

Do NOT use bismuth subsalicylate suspension if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in bismuth subsalicylate suspension
  • you have had a severe allergic reaction (eg, severe rash, hives, difficulty breathing, dizziness) to a salicylate (eg, aspirin) or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) (eg, ibuprofen, naproxen, celecoxib)
  • you have bleeding problems (eg, hemophilia), an active bleeding ulcer, black or bloody stools, or von Willebrand disease
  • you are taking another salicylate medicine (eg, aspirin)
  • the patient is a child with a viral infection (eg, chickenpox, flu symptoms)

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: View Frightful (But Dead Serious) Drug Side Effects

Before using bismuth subsalicylate suspension:

Some medical conditions may interact with bismuth subsalicylate suspension. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have diabetes, gout, arthritis, fever, mucus in the stool, inflammation of the stomach, Kawasaki syndrome, kidney problems, chickenpox, the flu, or joint problems (in children), or if you are dehydrated
  • if you have a history of stroke, stomach ulcers, or a certain type of bulging blood vessel (aneurysm) in the brain

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with bismuth subsalicylate suspension. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Diabetes medicine (eg, insulin, glipizide), methotrexate, or valproic acid because their actions and the risk of their side effects may be increased by bismuth subsalicylate suspension
  • Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin) or clopidogrel because the risk of bleeding may be increased by bismuth subsalicylate suspension
  • Salicylates (eg, aspirin) or NSAIDs (eg, ibuprofen, naproxen) because the risk of their side effects may be increased by bismuth subsalicylate suspension
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (eg, lisinopril) or sulfinpyrazone because their effectiveness may be decreased by bismuth subsalicylate suspension

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if bismuth subsalicylate suspension may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use bismuth subsalicylate suspension:

Use bismuth subsalicylate suspension as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Bismuth subsalicylate suspension may be taken with or without food.
  • Do not take tetracyclines (eg, doxycycline) within 2 hours before or after taking bismuth subsalicylate suspension.
  • Use bismuth subsalicylate suspension exactly as directed on the package, unless instructed differently by your doctor.
  • Shake well before each use.
  • Use a measuring device marked for medicine dosing. Ask your pharmacist for help if you are unsure of how to measure your dose.
  • Drinking extra fluids while you are taking bismuth subsalicylate suspension is recommended. Check with your doctor for instructions.
  • If you miss a dose of bismuth subsalicylate suspension and you are taking it regularly, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use bismuth subsalicylate suspension.

Important safety information:

  • Do NOT take more than the recommended dose or use for longer than 48 hours without checking with your doctor. If your symptoms do not improve within 48 hours or if they become worse or you develop a fever, check with your doctor.
  • Bismuth subsalicylate suspension may color the tongue or stool gray or black. This is normal and not a cause for concern.
  • Use of bismuth subsalicylate suspension has been linked to a serious illness called Reye syndrome. Do not give bismuth subsalicylate suspension to a child or teenager who has the flu, chickenpox, or a viral infection. Contact your doctor with any questions or concerns.
  • Use bismuth subsalicylate suspension with extreme caution in CHILDREN; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using bismuth subsalicylate suspension while you are pregnant. Bismuth subsalicylate suspension is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking bismuth subsalicylate suspension.

Possible side effects of bismuth subsalicylate suspension:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Temporary and harmless darkening of the tongue or stool.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); black, tarry stools; bloody or dark urine; fever; hearing loss; nausea; ringing in the ears; severe constipation; unusual bruising or bleeding; vomiting that may or may not look like coffee grounds.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include coma; confusion; dehydration; dizziness; new or worsening nausea; ringing in the ears; seizures; unusual bruising or bleeding; vomiting.

Proper storage of bismuth subsalicylate suspension:

Store bismuth subsalicylate suspension at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Avoid temperatures above 104 degrees F (40 degrees C). Keep bismuth subsalicylate suspension out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about bismuth subsalicylate suspension, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Bismuth subsalicylate suspension is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take bismuth subsalicylate suspension or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about bismuth subsalicylate suspension. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to bismuth subsalicylate suspension. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using bismuth subsalicylate suspension.

Issue Date: December 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.4.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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