Safety and side effects of using Pepto-Bismol


Many people turn to Pepto Bismol (or Kaopectate) when they have an upset stomach or diarrhea. These problems may occur more often if you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and you can use Pepto-Bismol to relieve IBS symptoms. It is helpful to know their safety and possible side effects.

Learn about Medications / Brianna Gilmartin


Pepto Bismol is mainly used for the short-term treatment of the following digestive symptoms in adults and children 12 years and older:

  • Diarrhea
  • Queasy
  • Diarrhea
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Excess intestinal gas
  • Excessive belching
  • Feeling full caused by overeating
  • The discomfort of drinking too much alcohol

Interestingly, the researchers found that when Pepto Bismol is combined with antibiotics, it can be quite effective in treating Helicobacter pylori. infection that has been linked to peptic ulcers and gastritis.

How Pepto Bismol works

The scientific name of the active ingredient Pepto Bismol is bismuth subsalicylate. Bismuth is a mineral that has antibacterial, antacid and antidiarrheal effects. Subsalicylate is a drug in the same class as aspirin.

Pepto Bismol’s active ingredients are believed to have the following effects on the body:

  • Increase the amount of fluid that is absorbed in the intestine, therefore, strengthens the stool
  • Reduction of inflammation
  • Soothing intestinal cramps
  • Reduction in the population of disease-causing bacteria and/or viruses
  • Reduction of excess stomach acid

Before You Take

Pepto Bismol is recommended to use only for two days. This, therefore, makes it a bad choice as a treatment for people suffering from chronic diarrhea common in people with IBS. This also makes it a bad choice for people experiencing chronic heartburn or acid reflux from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Before taking Pepto Bismol, it is important to consult your health care provider, as the medication may interact with other medications you are taking, especially some diabetes or gout medications, blood thinners, and some antibiotics.

Precautions and contraindications

Pepto Bismol should not be taken by those who:

  • Under 12 years
  • Sick with the flu
  • You have a fever and signs of blood in your stool.
  • Sick with chickenpox or vaccinated against chickenpox in the last six weeks
  • Pregnant
  • Is breastfeeding
  • Allergy to aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Aine)

How to take Pepto Bismol

Pepto Bismol is an oral medication that comes in liquid, tablet, or chewable form. Carefully follow the instructions and dosage recommendations on the product packaging.

You do not need to take medicine with food. Do not take Pepto Bismol for more than two days. Be sure to drink plenty of water while taking Pepto Bismol to replace fluid lost as a result of episodes of diarrhea.

side effects

Pepto Bismol is considered fairly safe for short-term use by adults and children over 12 years of age. If used correctly, the only side effect can be temporary and harmless blackening of the tongue or stool.. In some cases, the drug may work too well, resulting in constipation.

Serious side effects of Pepto Bismol are rare, but not unheard of. For older people, any resulting constipation can lead to intestinal blockage.

For children and adolescents, since Pepto Bismol belongs to the aspirin family, the greatest risk associated with this drug is developing the syndrome Reye. a life-threatening disease. This risk is especially high for people with chickenpox, the flu, or any other type of viral infection.​

However, there is a product for children called Pepto Kids. It does not contain bismuth subsalicylate and therefore does not carry the same risk as Pepto Bismol. Pepto Kids is designed for the treatment heartburn and stomach disorders in children.

When to call a health care provider

You should immediately consult your health care provider and stop taking Pepto Bismol if you experience:

  • Tinnitus
  • Diarrhea that lasts more than two days
  • Severe vomiting
  • High temperature
  • Any signs of an allergic reaction

If you think you have overdosed or experience any serious symptoms, seek help immediately by calling an ambulance.

A Few Words From Get Meds Info

While it may be tempting to take Pepto Bismol to treat IBS symptoms, remember that it is recommended to take no more than two days. Therefore, it is best only for short-term symptoms, and long-term use can increase side effects. When you experience chronic symptoms, consult your health care provider to find the best solution.

Frequently asked questions

  • The most common side effect of Pepto-Bismol is black tongue or black stools. They’re both harmless. Pepto-Bismol contains a non-toxic metal called bismuth, which when mixed with sulfur (a natural mineral in the body) forms a black substance called bismuth sulfide.

  • In rare cases, Pepto-Bismol is known to cause potentially serious side effects. Call your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms after taking Pepto-Bismol:

  • Pepto-Bismol is contraindicated for use in people with the following conditions:

    In addition, children under 12 years of age should not take Pepto-Bismol regularly; children under 2 years of age should not take Pepto-Bismol to Children.

  • Pepto-Bismol contains bismuth subsalicylate, a drug that is usually avoided during the third trimester because it increases the risk uterine bleeding. There is much debate about the real risk, but it may be better to avoid Pepto-Bismol just in case.

  • Pepto-Bismol has the potential to interact with a wide range of medications. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any of the following before you start taking Pepto-Bismol:

  • There are several over-the-counter alternatives to Pepto-Bismol depending on the treatable symptom:

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