Skip to main content

Bismuth subsalicylate

Generic name: bismuth subsalicylate [ BIZ-muth-sub-sa-LISS-i-late ]
Brand names: Bismarex, Kaopectate, Kaopectate Diarrhea And Upset Stomach, Kola-Pectin DS, Pepto Bismol Liquicaps, ... show all 29 brands
Dosage forms: oral capsule (262 mg), oral suspension (1050 mg/10 mL; 262 mg/15 mL; 525 mg/10 mL; 525 mg/15 mL; 525 mg/30 mL; 527 mg/30 mL), ... show all 4 dosage forms
Drug class: Antidiarrheals

Medically reviewed by on Jan 17, 2024. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is bismuth subsalicylate?

Bismuth subsalicylate relieves diarrhea, travelers' diarrhea, nausea, heartburn, indigestion, gas, or upset stomach.

Bismuth subsalicylate may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Bismuth subsalicylate side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives, difficult breathing, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Bismuth subsalicylate may cause serious side effects. Stop using bismuth subsalicylate and call your doctor at once if you have:

Bismuth subsalicylate may cause you to have a black or darkened tongue. This is a harmless side effect.

Common side effects include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


You should not use bismuth subsalicylate if you have bleeding problems, a stomach ulcer, blood in your stools, or if you are allergic to aspirin or other salicylates.

Using this medicine in a child or teenager with flu symptoms or chickenpox can cause a serious or fatal condition called Reye's syndrome.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use bismuth subsalicylate if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

Using this medicine in a child or teenager with flu symptoms or chickenpox can cause a serious or fatal condition called Reye's syndrome.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if this medicine is safe to use if you have or have ever had:

Ask a doctor before using this medicine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Do not give this medicine to a child younger than 12 years old without medical advice.

This medicine may contain phenylalanine and could be harmful if you have phenylketonuria (PKU).

How should I take bismuth subsalicylate?

Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor.

Shake the oral suspension (liquid). Measure a dose with the supplied measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).

You must chew the chewable tablet before you swallow it.

Drink plenty of liquids while you are taking bismuth subsalicylate.

Taking more than the recommended dose will not make bismuth subsalicylate more effective, and may cause serious side effects.

Call your doctor if you still have diarrhea after 2 days of using this medicine.

This medicine can affect the results of certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using bismuth subsalicylate.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not freeze.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Bismuth subsalicylate is used when needed. If you are on a dosing schedule, skip any missed dose. Do not use two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking bismuth subsalicylate?

Ask a doctor or pharmacist before taking other antacids, diarrhea medicine, or taking medicine that may contain a salicylate (such as aspirin, salsalate, magnesium salicylate, choline salicylate, diflunisal, Ecotrin, Tricosal, Trilisate, and others).

What other drugs will affect bismuth subsalicylate?

Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using bismuth subsalicylate with any other medicines, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect bismuth subsalicylate, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Popular FAQ

Black hairy tongue is often caused by an overgrowth of papillae (taste buds) on the tongue. It results in a dark, furry appearance of dead skin cells on the surface of the tongue that can be stained from bacteria, food, or tobacco. Although it may be unpleasant, it doesn't usually require medical treatment and it's temporary and harmless. Continue reading

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.