Bismuth subsalicylate is used to treat diarrhea, heartburn, and upset stomach in adults and children 12 years of age and older. Bismuth subsalicylate is in a class of medications called antidiarrheal agents. It works by decreasing the flow of fluids and electrolytes into the bowel, reduces inflammation within the intestine, and may kill the organisms that can cause diarrhea.
Bismuth subsalicylate comes as a liquid, tablet, or chewable tablet to be taken by mouth, with or without food. Follow the directions on the package carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take bismuth subsalicylate exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than recommended by the manufacturer or your doctor.
Swallow the tablets whole; do not chew them.
Shake the liquid well before each use to mix the medication evenly.
If your symptoms get worse or if your diarrhea lasts longer than 48 hours, stop taking this medication and call your doctor.
Before taking bismuth subsalicylate,
Drink plenty of water or other beverages to replace fluids that you may have lost while having diarrhea.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
This medication is usually taken as needed. If your doctor has told you to take bismuth subsalicylate regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( Web Site) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. Web Site
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at Web Site. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about bismuth subsalicylate.
You may notice darkening of the stool and/or tongue while you are taking bismuth subsalicylate. This darkening is harmless and usually goes away in a few days after you stop taking this medication.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Selected Revisions: August 15, 2016.