Name: Pepto-Bismol

Pepto-Bismol Side Effects

Common Side Effects of Pepto-Bismol

  • Black tongue
  • Black stool
  • Ringing the ears, or tinnitus
  • Constipation

Serious Side Effects of Pepto-Bismol

  • Reyes' syndrome in children and teens with active influenza, chicken pox, or other infections


Bismuth subsalicylate is used to treat diarrhea in adults and teenagers. It is also used to relieve the symptoms of an upset stomach, such as heartburn, indigestion, and nausea in adults and teenagers.

This medicine is available without a prescription.

This product is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Suspension
  • Tablet
  • Tablet, Chewable

Adverse Effects


Nausea (12%)


Diarrhea (7%)

Abdominal pain (7%)

Melena (3%)

Upper respiratory tract infection (2%)

Constipation (2%)

Anorexia (2%)

Vomiting (2%)

Asthenia (2%)

Discolored tongue (2%)

Headache (2%)

Dyspepsia (2%)

Dizziness (2%)

Stool abnormality (1%)

Duodenal ulcer (1%)

Sinusitis (1%)

Taste perversion (1%)

Flatulence (1%)

GI hemorrhage (1%)

Pain (1%)

Insomnia (1%)

Anal discomfort (1%)

Paresthesia (1%)

Frequency Not Defined






Gray-black stool


Muscle spasm

Neurotoxicity (rare)


Do not give aspirin or other salicylates to a child or a teenager with a fever or other symptoms of a virus infection, especially flu or chickenpox, without first discussing its use with your child's doctor. This is very important because salicylates may cause a serious illness called Reye's syndrome in children and teenagers with fever caused by a virus infection, especially flu or chickenpox.

Some children may need to take aspirin or another salicylate regularly (as for arthritis). However, your child's doctor may want to stop the medicine for a while if a fever or other symptoms of a virus infection occur. Discuss this with your child's doctor, so that you will know ahead of time what to do if your child gets sick.

Children who do not have a virus infection may also be more sensitive to the effects of salicylates, especially if they have a fever or have lost large amounts of body fluid because of vomiting, diarrhea, or sweating. This may increase the chance of side effects during treatment.

Other Interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.


Keep out of the reach of children.

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.


Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Dysentery—This condition may get worse; a different kind of treatment may be needed
  • Gout—The salicylate in this medicine may worsen the gout and make the medicines taken for gout less effective
  • Hemophilia or other bleeding problems—The salicylate in this medicine may increase the chance of bleeding
  • Kidney disease—There is a greater chance of side effects because the body may be unable to get rid of the bismuth subsalicylate
  • Stomach ulcer—Use of this medicine may make the ulcer worse

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since bismuth subsalicylate is taken as needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are taking the medication regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose. Do not take more than 8 doses in one day (24 hours).