Bismuth Subsalicylate (Oral)

Bismuth subsalicylate belongs to a class of medicines known as antidiarrheal agents; it works by killing organisms (bacteria) that cause diarrhea.


Bismuth subsalicylate is a type of medication used for treating diarrhea, heartburn, nausea and stomach upset in both children and adults. However, only children above the age of 12 are allowed to take this medication. Bismuth subsalicylate belongs to a class of drugs known as antidiarrheal agents, which work by killing bacteria that causes diarrhea. This medication cannot, however, be used to treat diarrhea with symptoms such as blood or mucus in stool. Such signs could be an indication of serious underlying disease. Talk to your doctor immediately for urgent medical attention if you notice such symptoms.Taking this medication may not help much if the underlying cause is not bacteria.

Bismuth subsalicylate may also be used in combination with other drugs to treat a certain type of stomach ulcers caused by bacteria. Don't use this medication to treat ulcers unless you are given permission by your doctor. This medication can only be prescribed by the doctor. It's normally taken orally and comes in the form of tablets. This medication is also available in liquid form. Your doctor will decide whether to prescribe tablets or liquid(suspension) depending on your overall health conditions and diarrhea symptoms.

Conditions treated

Type of medicine

  • Antidiarrheal agents

Side effects

This medication has been found to be very effective in treating diarrhea caused by bacteria. But along with the desired side effects, taking this medication may cause several unwanted effects. Some side effects may be serious while others may be less severe and should go away after some period of time. Severe side effects should be reported to the doctor as soon as possible. Talk to your physician urgently if you notice any of these side effects while taking bismuth subsalicylate:

  • Ringing in ears
  • Very hard stools (constipation)
  • Any unexplained bruising or bleeding
  • Hearing loss
  • Dark tongue and stool

You should also talk to your doctor urgently if taking this medication causes an allergic reaction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include rash, peeling of skin, tightness in throat or chest, swollen skin, blistered skin, itchy feeling, difficulty in breathing, swelling of mouth, lips, face, unusual hoarseness, throat or tongue.

While taking bismuth subsalicylate, you are likely to notice the darkening of your tongue or stool. These side effects are usually harmless and should disappear as soon as you stop taking this medication. Inform your doctor if you notice or experience any unusual side effects.

The above mentioned side effects are just some of the many side effects that can occur when using this medication. Talk to your doctor if you experience other side effects not mentioned here. Otherwise, most of the side effects should ease after some time once the medicine adjusts to your system. Do not remain silent if you have any questions regarding any side effects you may experience while taking this medication.Talking to your doctor may help you come up with ways to reduce or prevent certain side effects from wrecking havoc.


Bismuth subsalicylate comes in the form of tablets (both for swallowing and chewing) as well as a liquid, and it's taken orally or by mouth. You can take this medication with food or alone. Read the fine print on the packaging of this medication if you want to use this drug properly.

You can also speak with your doctor if you do not understand some of the information on dosage. Take this medication as you are instructed by your doctor. Do not take more or less of this drug under any circumstances. Dosage requirements for this medication may be different depending on the condition of a patient as well as the type of condition you are suffering.

Remember this medication is used for treating more than just diarrhea symptoms. Dosage requirements for people with other conditions such as nausea, heartburn and stomach upset may be different. The following info highlights the average dosage requirements when taking this medication.

Oral suspension dosage instructions

Adults and children from the age of 12 and above should take 2 tablespoons of the medication at least every hour when dealing with diarrhea or stomach upset symptoms. You should not take more than 16 tablespoons of this drug in 24 hours. This medication should not be taken by children under the age of 12.Talk to your doctor if you have any questions regarding the dosage information provided.

Oral tablets dosage instructions

Adults and kids aged 12 and above should take 2 tablets after every one hour. You should not take more than 16 tablets in 24 hours. This medication should not be given to kids below the age of 12.

Missed Dose

In case you miss a dose, take one immediately you remember. But, if it's almost time for the next dose, continue with your regular dosing schedule, and don't take the missed dose. Don't take two doses at any time in an attempt to compensate for the missed dose.

Drink lots of water plus other be beverages to recover some of the fluids you may have lost because of diarrhea. Continue with your normal dietary program unless the doctor instructs you to make some changes.Do not stop taking this medication unless your are given permission by the doctor.

In case of overdose

If you overdose on this medicine, call the nearest poison center for help. In cases where a patient collapses or stops breathing, one should call 911 for emergency help. Acting fast in such circumstance is the key to saving lives.

Drug Interactions

Although certain medications shouldn't be used in combination, there are instances where drugs may be used together even if they produce interactions. In such a scenario, your doctor may have to alter your dosage or put certain precautions in place.

Inform your doctor if you are using or plan to use other drugs (prescription and non-prescription). The following medications should not be taken together with bismuth subsalicylate.

  • Aceclofenac
  • Acemetacin
  • Bromfenac
  • Bufexamac
  • Celecoxib
  • Amtolmetin
  • Guacil
  • Clonixin
  • Dexibuprofen
  • Diclofenac
  • Dexketoprofen
  • Dipyrone
  • Droxicam
  • Etodolac
  • Etofenamate
  • Digoxin
  • Felbinac
  • Fenoprofen
  • Fepradinol
  • Feprazone
  • Etoricoxib
  • Flufenamic Acid
  • Flurbiprofen
  • Ibuprofen
  • Floctafenine
  • Ketoprofen
  • Lornoxicam
  • Loxoprofen
  • Lumiracoxib
  • Indomethacin
  • Mefenamic Acid
  • Meloxicam
  • Morniflumate
  • Meclofenamate
  • Nabumetone
  • Nepafenac
  • Niflumic Acid
  • Nimesulide
  • Nimesulide
  • Naproxen
  • Beta Cyclodextrin
  • Oxaprozin
  • Naproxen
  • Parecoxib
  • Phenylbutazone
  • Piketoprofen
  • Oxyphenbutazone
  • Proglumetacin
  • Propyphenazone
  • Proquazone
  • Rofecoxib
  • Piroxicam
  • Tenoxicam
  • Tiaprofenic Acid
  • Tolfenamic Acid
  • Tolmetin
  • Sulindac
  • Valdecoxib

The list above is not complete. Other medications that may interact with bismuth subsalicylate may not be in the list above. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to provide you with a complete list of all medications that may interact with Bismuth subsalicylate.

The following drugs may interact with bismuth subsalicylate. However, the doctor may be forced to use them in combination with bismuth subsalicylate for your own benefit. If these drugs are used together with bismuth subsalicylate, then the doctor may have to alter your dosage or put certain precautions in place.

  • Probenecid
  • Sulfinpyrazone
  • Doxycycline
  • Tamarind

Other Interactions

Certain drugs may interact with specific foods when used around the same time. As such, it's important to talk to your doctor in order to find out the foods you should consume while taking bismuth subsalicylate. Also, using certain medications around the same time with tobacco or alcohol may cause interactions. Speak with your doctor to find out if it's okay to use recreational substances like alcohol while undergoing treatment with this medication.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other underlying illnesses may affect the use of this medication. Inform your doctor if you have any underlying illnesses while using this medication. If you suffer any of these diseases while using this medicine, inform your physician for a solution.

  • Dysentery
  • Gout
  • Bleeding problems
  • Kidney disease
  • Stomach ulcer

You should not take bismuth subsalicylate if you have any of the above conditions unless the doctor gives you permission to do so.


Tell your pharmacist or doctor if you are allergic to pain relieving drugs such as aspirin, choline magnesium trisalicylate, choline salicylate (Arthropan), magnesium salicylate (Doan's, others),salsalate (Argesic, Disalcid, Salgesic), diflunisal (Dolobid)or any other medication.

Inform your pharmacist or physician about all the medications you are currently taking including herbal solutions. Be sure to provide your doctor with enough info if you are taking any of these drugs: warfarin or aspirin. Also, tell your doctor if you are taking any medication for treating conditions such as gout, bleeding disorders, ulcers and arthritis.

Let your doctor know if you are taking tetracycline antibiotics like demeclocycline (Declomycin), minocycline (Dynacin, Minocin), tetracycline (Sumycin) and doxycycline (Doryx, Vibramycin). Take such medication at least one or more hours after taking bismuth subsalicylate.

Tell your doctor prior to taking this medication if you have any bleeding disorder, ulcers, bloody stool, blackened stool or kidney disease. Also, inform your doctor before taking this medicine if you have blood or mucus in your stool.

Tell your doctor if you are planning to give this medication to children. Children below the age of 12 years are not supposed to take this medication. Also, inform your doctor if the child you are about to give this medication has the following symptoms: vomiting, drowsiness, confusion, aggression, listlessness, seizures, body weakness, flu-like symptom yellowing of the skin or eyes.

Use this medication with caution if you are pregnant. Also, only use this drug in case of an emergency in the third trimester of your pregnancy. Clinical studies show that this medication can be a risk to the unborn baby. As such, it's important to consult your doctor before taking this medication. Your physician may conduct several examinations before deciding if you should use this medication or not.

If you are breastfeeding, use this medication with caution. It's a good idea to consult your doctor if you are breastfeeding and using this medication.

It's critical to maintain a list of all medications you are using or intend to use while using this medication. This list should also include all the over-the-counter drugs, minerals, herbal supplements and vitamins. Always visit your doctor with the list to eliminate the chances of taking medications that may interact with your body badly and produce harmful side effects.


Just like all other medications, store this medication safely in position where children cannot reach. Ensure that you close the container tightly after using this medication. Also, it is ideal to store this medicine and others at room temperature. Don't store this medication in the bathroom because of moisture and heat.

If you want to dispose this medication, ensure you do it safely so that it doesn't fall to the hands of your kids or pets. Using local take-back programs to dispose this and other medications is highly recommended. Do not flush this medication down your toilet or drain. If you have no idea on how to dispose this medication, speak with your pharmacist or garbage collector for suggestions. You can also do more research online to find good tips on how to dispose this medication and others safely.


Bismuth subsalicylate is a kind of medication used for treating diarrhea symptoms caused by bacteria. This medication may also be used to treat conditions such as nausea, stomach upset and heart burn. Bismuth subsalicylate belongs to a class of drugs called antidiarrheal agents, which work by eliminating the bacteria which causes diarrhea and other symptoms.

However, this medication cannot be used to remedy diarrhea that may be caused by other illnesses. Only children aged 12 years and above and adults are allowed to use this medication. This medication should not be given to children under the age of 12 years. Talk to your doctor for alternative treatment options if your child is aged 12 and below and has diarrhea symptoms.

Bismuth subsalicylate can also be used together with other drugs to treat ulcers caused by bacteria. It is taken orally in form of liquid (suspension) or tablets (chewing and swallowing). The doctor will give a dose based on your symptoms and overall medical condition.

Some of the side effects that may occur as result of taking this medication include: Ringing in ears, dark tongue and stool, unexplained bruising or bleeding hard stools (constipation) and hearing loss. Talk to your doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms and they don't ease after some time.

Also, it's important to be aware of possible drug interactions that may occur if you are using this medication at the same time with other drugs whether they are prescribed or not prescribed by the doctor. Tell your doctor to provide you with a comprehensive list of all possible drugs that may interact with bismuth subsalicylate. Lastly, ensure that you know all the precautions and warnings associated with taking this medication. Being aware of precautions can help you to take this medication safelyÛ”

Last Reviewed:
December 24, 2017
Last Updated:
April 04, 2018