Generic name: Bismuth Subsalicylate Suspension [ BIZ-muth-sub-sa-LIS-i-late ]
Brand names: Kaopectate, Pepto-Bismol
Drug class: Antidiarrheals
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Feb 6, 2023.
Uses of Pepto-Bismol:
- It is used to treat diarrhea.
- It is used to treat heartburn and upset stomach.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Pepto-Bismol?
For all patients taking Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate suspension):
- If you have an allergy to bismuth, salicylates, or any other part of Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate suspension).
- If you have an allergy to aspirin or NSAIDs.
- If you are allergic to Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate suspension); any part of Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate suspension); or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
- If you have any of these health problems: Bleeding problems; ulcers; or black, tarry, or bloody stools.
- If you are taking a salicylate drug like aspirin.
- If your child has or is getting better from flu signs, chickenpox, or other viral infections.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate suspension).
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate suspension) with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Pepto-Bismol?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate suspension). This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Do not give to children and teenagers who have or are getting better from flu signs, chickenpox, or other viral infections due to the chance of Reye's syndrome. Reye's syndrome causes very bad problems to the brain and liver.
- If you are on a low-sodium or sodium-free diet, talk with your doctor. Some of these products have sodium.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan on getting pregnant, or are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks to you and the baby.
How is this medicine (Pepto-Bismol) best taken?
Use Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate suspension) as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Shake well before use.
- Measure liquid doses carefully. Use the measuring device that comes with Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate suspension). If there is none, ask the pharmacist for a device to measure Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate suspension).
- Drink lots of noncaffeine liquids unless told to drink less liquid by your doctor.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- If you take Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate suspension) on a regular basis, take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
- Many times Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate suspension) is taken on an as needed basis. Do not take more often than told by the doctor.
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Ringing in the ears, hearing loss, or any other changes in hearing.
What are some other side effects of Pepto-Bismol?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Dark tongue and stool.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Pepto-Bismol?
- Store at room temperature.
- Protect from heat.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate suspension), please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
Frequently asked questions
- Pepto-Bismol - How long will your stool be dark for?
- How to stop diarrhea - any medicine or remedy suggestions?
- My stool has changed color. What does it mean?
- Is using expired Pepto-Bismol a hazard or health risk?
- What causes black hairy tongue?
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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.