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Generic Name: barium sulfate (oral and rectal) (BER ee um SUL fate)
Brand Name: Digibar 190, Entero-H, Esopho-Cat, E-Z Paste, E-Z-Cat, E-Z-Disk, E-Z-Paque, Liquid E-Z Paque, Liquid Polibar, Maxibar, Medebar Plus, Polibar ACB, Readi-Cat, Scan C, Sitzmarks, Smoothie Readi-Cat 2, Sol-O-Pake, Tagitol V, Ultra R, Varibar Nectar, Varibar Thin, Volumen
Medically reviewed on January 3, 2018
What is barium sulfate?
Barium sulfate is in a group of drugs called contrast agents. Barium sulfate works by coating the inside of your esophagus, stomach, or intestines which allows them to be seen more clearly on a CT scan or other radiologic (x-ray) examination.
Barium sulfate is used to help diagnose certain disorders of the esophagus, stomach, or intestines.
Barium sulfate may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about barium sulfate?
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breast-feeding before your medical test.
Also tell your doctor if you have ever had an allergic reaction to a contrast agent.
What should I discuss with my health care provider before using barium sulfate?
You should not use barium sulfate if you are allergic to it. Tell your doctor if you have ever had an allergic reaction to a contrast agent.
To make sure barium sulfate is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
asthma, eczema, or allergies;
a blockage in your stomach or intestines;
heart disease or high blood pressure;
Hirschsprung's disease (a disorder of the intestines);
a condition called pseudotumor cerebri (high pressure inside the skull that may cause headaches, vision loss, or other symptoms);
a recent history of surgery on your esophagus, stomach, or intestines;
a history of perforation (a hole or tear) in your esophagus, stomach, or intestines;
if you have recently had a rectal biopsy;
if you have ever choked on food by accidentally inhaling it into your lungs;
if you are allergic to simethicone (Gas-X, Phazyme, and others); or
if you are allergic to latex rubber.
It is not known whether barium sulfate will harm an unborn baby, but the radiation used in x-rays and CT scans may be harmful. Before your medical test, tell your doctor if you are pregnant.
Barium sulfate may pass into breast milk and could harm a nursing baby. Before your medical test, tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should I use barium sulfate?
Use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use it in larger amounts or for longer than recommended.
Barium sulfate comes in tablets, paste, cream, or liquid forms.
In some cases, barium sulfate is taken by mouth. The liquid form may also be used as a rectal enema.
You may need to begin using this medication at home a day before your medical test. Follow your doctor's instructions about how much of the medication to use and how often.
If you are receiving barium sulfate as a rectal enema, a healthcare professional will give you the medication at the clinic or hospital where your testing will take place.
Do not crush, chew, or break a barium sulfate tablet. Swallow the pill whole.
Dissolve the barium sulfate powder in a small amount of water. Stir this mixture and drink all of it right away. To make sure you get the entire dose, add a little more water to the same glass, swirl gently and drink right away.
If you receive the medication as a liquid to take by mouth, shake the liquid well just before you measure a dose. To be sure you get the correct dose, measure the liquid with a marked 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.
Carefully follow your doctor's instructions about what to eat or drink within the 24-hour period before your test.
Store at room temperature away from heat and moisture. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
What happens if I miss a dose?
If you are using barium sulfate at home, call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid before or after using barium sulfate?
Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.
Barium sulfate side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
severe stomach pain;
severe cramping, diarrhea, or constipation;
ringing in your ears;
confusion, fast heart rate; or
pale skin, weakness.
Common side effects may include:
mild stomach cramps;
loose stools or mild constipation.
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 barium sulfate?
Other drugs may interact with barium sulfate, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
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.
Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 4.03. Revision Date: 2013-10-28, 9:49:05 AM.
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- Drug class: non-iodinated contrast media