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This bismuth preparation is used primarily to treat diarrhea. It can be used as an antacid. Interestingly, it does have some antibacterial effects and has been found to be useful in treating the stomach bacterial infection, Helicobacter pylori, when used together with antibiotics.


People who have known allergies or asthma may be at an increased risk for a reaction from any new medication. The physician should always know a patient’s allergy history. Signs of an allergic reaction are skin rash, hives and itching. Of course, a person should not take bismuth if there has been a previous reaction to this drug, aspirin or any other salicylates.

Adverse reactions:

There are no known adverse effects of bismuth on sexual function. Adverse reactions can occur with any drug, even over-the-counter medications. Some of these are mild such as a stomach upset, which may be avoided by taking the medication with food. Minor reactions may go away on their own but if they persist, contact the physician. For major reactions, the patient should contact the physician immediately. For bismuth, the following are the observed side effects: Minor: temporary gray-black darkening of stool Major: stool impaction or blockage in infants or elderly patients.


There are no interactions with food or beverages. Drink plenty of clear liquids to help prevent dehydration which may accompany diarrhea. An interaction generally means that one drug may increase or decrease the effect of another drug. Also, the more medications a person takes, the more likely there will be a drug interaction. Bismuth subsalicylate is a form of salicylate. If taken with aspirin and if ringing in the ears occurs, discontinue use. Interactions with this drug may occur with the following: blood thinners (Coumadin). tetracycline antibiotics (Achromycin, Sumycin).


Most females now know that, if possible, no drug, including alcohol, should be taken during pregnancy or lactation. The potential danger, of course, is an injury to the baby. However, some drugs are much safer than others in this regard. So, the FDA has a grading system for each drug which reflects what is known medically. It ranks drugs from A, where medical studies show no evidence for danger to the fetus or mother, to B, C, D and X, where the medical evidence indicates that the risk to the fetus outweighs any benefit to the mother. Bismuth is ranked C. Always consult your physician before taking any drug during or when planning pregnancy. Bismuth may cause a temporary and harmless darkening of the tongue and stool. Because bismuth may interfere with x-ray examinations of the GI tract, it should not be taken for several days before an abdominal x-ray exam. If diarrhea is accompanied by high fever or if it continues for more than 2 days, consult your physician. Children or teenagers who have or are recovering from chicken pox or flu should not use bismuth subsalicylate because of the possibility of Reye’s Syndrome, a very serious liver condition.



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