Bismuth subsalicylate is an antacid and antidiarrheal active ingredient available in over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that treat heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal ailments.
Bismuth subsalicylate is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is safe and effective when used according to the Drug Facts label.
Children and teenagers who have or are recovering from chicken pox or flu-like symptoms should not use an OTC medicine containing bismuth subsalicylate. If nausea or vomiting occurs, contact a healthcare provider immediately. These symptoms could be an early sign of Reye’s syndrome, which is a rare but serious illness.
- When using medicines containing bismuth subsalicylate, a temporary and harmless darkening of the stool or tongue may occur.
- You should drink plenty of clear fluids to help prevent dehydration caused by diarrhea.
- You may use the product as directed until diarrhea stops, but not for more than two days.
- You should never take more medicine or for a longer period of time than what the label says.
- You are taking a blood-thinning medicine (anticoagulant) or a prescription medicine to treat diabetes, gout, or arthritis.
- You have a fever or mucus in the stool.
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- You are allergic to salicylates, including aspirin.
- You are taking other medicines that contain salicylates.
- You have an ulcer, bleeding problem, or bloody or black stool.
- Your symptoms get worse.
- You experience ringing in the ears or loss of hearing.
- Your diarrhea lasts for more than two days.
- You take too much. Immediately contact a healthcare provider or the poison control national helpline at 800.222.1222.