Generic Name: bismuth subsalicylate (BIZ muth sub sa LISS i late)
Brand Name: Bismarex, Bismatrol, Bismatrol Maximum Strength, Kaopectate, Kola-Pectin DS, Maalox Total Stomach Relief, Peptic Relief, Pepto-Bismol, Pink Bismuth, ...show all 24 brand namesPepto-Bismol Maximum Strength, Maximum Strength Stress, Stress Maximum Strength, Kaopectate Extra Strength, Childrens Kaopectate, Kapectolin (New Formula), Kao-Tin Bismuth Subsalicylate Formula, Kaopectate Anti-Diarrheal Upset Stomach Reliever, K-Pek, Soothe Chewable, Soothe Regular Strength, Soothe Maximum Strength, Soothe Caplets, Percy Medicine, Pepto-Bismol InstaCool
Medically reviewed on December 9, 2016
What is bismuth subsalicylate?
Bismuth subsalicylate is an antacid and anti-diarrhea medication.
Bismuth subsalicylate may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Bismuth subsalicylate is used to treat diarrhea, nausea, heartburn, indigestion, and upset stomach.
This medication should not be given to a child or teenager who has a fever, especially if the child also has flu symptoms or chicken pox. Salicylates can cause a serious and sometimes fatal condition called Reye's syndrome in children.
You should not use bismuth subsalicylate if you have a stomach ulcer, a recent history of stomach or intestinal bleeding, or if you are allergic to salicylates such as aspirin, Doan's Extra Strength, Salflex, Tricosal, and others.
Before taking this medicine
This medication should not be given to a child or teenager who has a fever, especially if the child also has flu symptoms or chicken pox. Subsalicylate can cause a serious and sometimes fatal condition called Reye's syndrome in children.
You should not use bismuth subsalicylate if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
a stomach ulcer;
a recent history of stomach or intestinal bleeding; or
if you are allergic to salicylates such as aspirin, Doan's Extra Strength, Salflex, Tricosal, and others.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to take bismuth subsalicylate if you have:
mucus in your stools;
Ask a doctor before using bismuth subsalicylate if you are pregnant.
Bismuth subsalicylate can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Ask a doctor before using this medicine if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should I take bismuth subsalicylate?
Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Do not take more than 8 doses in one day (24 hours).
Shake the liquid medicine well just before you measure a dose. Measure the liquid with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
The chewable tablet must be chewed before you swallow it.
Bismuth subsalicylate can cause you to have a black or darkened tongue. This is a harmless side effect.
This medication can also cause unusual results with certain medical tests, thyroid scans, or stomach x-rays. Tell any doctor who treats you that you have recently taken bismuth subsalicylate.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not freeze.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Since bismuth subsalicylate is taken as needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are taking the medication regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose. Do not take more than 8 doses in one day (24 hours).
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Overdose symptoms may include increased thirst, anxiety, muscle spasm, ringing in your ears, dizziness, confusion, severe headache, problems with speech or vision, severe stomach pain, or worsening diarrhea or vomiting.
What should I avoid while taking bismuth subsalicylate?
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before taking other antacids or diarrhea medications together with bismuth subsalicylate.
Bismuth subsalicylate side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop taking bismuth subsalicylate and call your doctor at once if you have:
hearing loss or ringing in your ears;
diarrhea lasting longer than 2 days; or
worsened stomach symptoms.
Common side effects include:
dark colored stools; or
black or darkened tongue.
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.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect bismuth subsalicylate?
Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to use bismuth subsalicylate if you are also using any of the following drugs:
insulin or oral diabetes medications;
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with bismuth subsalicylate, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
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.
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- En Español
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- Drug class: antidiarrheals
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