Pepto-Bismol



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Generic Name: bismuth subsalicylate
(BIZ muth sub sa LISS i late)

What is Pepto-Bismol?

Pepto-Bismol is an anti-diarrhea medication and antacid.

Pepto-Bismol is used to treat diarrhea, nausea, heartburn, indigestion, and upset stomach.

Pepto-Bismol may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about Pepto-Bismol?

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 Pepto-Bismol 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.

Do not take more than 8 doses in one day (24 hours).

Pepto-Bismol can cause you to have a black or darkened tongue. This is a harmless side effect.

This medication can also cause you to have unusual results with certain medical tests, thyroid scans, or stomach x-rays. Tell any doctor who treats you that you have recently taken Pepto-Bismol.

What should I discuss with my health care provider before taking Pepto-Bismol?

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 Pepto-Bismol 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 Pepto-Bismol, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • fever;
  • mucus in your stools
  • diabetes
  • arthritis; or
  • gout.

Do not take Pepto-Bismol without telling your doctor if you are pregnant.

Pepto-Bismol can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take Pepto-Bismol?

Use this medication exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use it in larger amounts or for longer than recommended.

Shake the liquid medicine 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.

The chewable tablet must be chewed before you swallow it.

Do not take more than 8 doses in one day (24 hours).

Pepto-Bismol can cause you to have a black or darkened tongue. This is a harmless side effect.

This medication can cause you to have unusual results with certain medical tests, thyroid scans, or stomach x-rays. Tell any doctor who treats you that you have recently taken Pepto-Bismol.

Store Pepto-Bismol at room temperature away from moisture, heat, or freezing temperature.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since Pepto-Bismol 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. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to take the medicine and skip the missed 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 if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

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 Pepto-Bismol?

Talk to your doctor before taking additional antacids or diarrhea medications together with Pepto-Bismol.

What are the possible side effects of Pepto-Bismol?

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 using this medication and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • hearing loss or ringing in your ears
  • diarrhea lasting longer than 2 days; or
  • worsened stomach symptoms.

Less serious side effects include:

  • constipation
  • dark colored stools; or
  • black or darkened tongue.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Pepto-Bismol?

The following drugs can interact with Pepto-Bismol. Tell your doctor if you are using any of these:

  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin)
  • insulin or diabetes medications you take by mouth
  • medications to treat gout, such as probenecid (Benemid) or sulfinpyrazone (Anturane)
  • medication used to prevent blood clots, such as alteplase (Activase), streptokinase (Kabikinase, Streptase), and urokinase (Abbokinase)
  • salicylates such as aspirin, Novasal, Doan's Extra Strength, Salflex, Tricosal, and others; or
  • a tetracycline antibiotic, including doxycycline (Adoxa, Doryx, Oracea, Vibramycin), minocycline (Dynacin, Minocin, Solodyn, Vectrin), and others.

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with Pepto-Bismol. Tell your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about Pepto-Bismol.


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.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.