2011501658 Health Library | Health and Wellness | Wellmont Health System
  • Bismuth Subsalicylate

    (biz muth) (sub sa lis' i late)

    WHY is this medicine prescribed?

    Bismuth subsalicylate is used to treat diarrhea, heartburn, and upset stomach in adults and children 12 years of age and older. Bismuth subsalicylate is in a class of medications called antidiarrheal agents. It works by decreasing the flow of fluids and electrolytes into the bowel, reduces inflammation within the intestine, and may kill the organisms that can cause diarrhea.

    HOW should this medicine be used?

    Bismuth subsalicylate comes as a liquid, tablet, or chewable tablet to be taken by mouth, with or without food. Follow the directions on the package carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take bismuth subsalicylate exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than recommended by the manufacturer or your doctor.
    Swallow the tablets whole; do not chew them.
    Shake the liquid well before each use to mix the medication evenly.
    If your symptoms get worse or if your diarrhea lasts longer than 48 hours, stop taking this medication and call your doctor.

    What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?

    Before taking bismuth subsalicylate,
    • tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to salicylate pain relievers such as aspirin, choline magnesium trisalicylate, choline salicylate (Arthropan), diflunisal (Dolobid), magnesium salicylate (Doan's, others), and salsalate (Argesic, Disalcid, Salgesic); or any other medication.
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about taking bismuth subsalicylate if you take: anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin); a daily aspirin; or medication for diabetes, arthritis or gout.
    • if you are taking tetracycline antibiotics such as demeclocycline (Declomycin), doxycycline (Doryx, Vibramycin), minocycline (Dynacin, Minocin), and tetracycline (Sumycin), take them at least 1 hour before or 3 hours after taking bismuth subsalicylate.
    • ask your doctor before taking this medication if you have ever had an ulcer, bleeding problem, stools that are bloody or blackened, or kidney disease. Also ask your doctor before taking bismuth subsalicylate if you have a fever or mucus in your stool. If you will be giving bismuth subsalicylate to a child or teenager, tell the child's doctor if the child has any of the following symptoms before he or she receives the medication: vomiting, listlessness, drowsiness, confusion, aggression, seizures, yellowing of the skin or eyes, weakness, or flu-like symptoms. Also tell the child's doctor if the child has not been drinking normally, has had excessive vomiting or diarrhea, or appears dehydrated.
    • ask your doctor about taking this medication if you are pregnant or are breast-feeding.

    What SPECIAL DIETARY instructions should I follow?

    Drink plenty of water or other beverages to replace fluids that you may have lost while having diarrhea.
    Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

    What should I do IF I FORGET to take a dose?

    This medication is usually taken as needed. If your doctor has told you to take bismuth subsalicylate regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

    What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?

    Bismuth subsalicylate may cause side effects.
    Some side effects can be serious. If you experience this symptom, stop taking this medication and call your doctor immediately:
    • ringing or buzzing in your ear(s)
    Bismuth subsalicylate may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

    What should I know about STORAGE and DISPOSAL of this medication?

    Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

    What should I do in case of OVERDOSE?

    In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

    What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?

    Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about bismuth subsalicylate.
    You may notice darkening of the stool and/or tongue while you are taking bismuth subsalicylate. This darkening is harmless and usually goes away in a few days after you stop taking this medication.
    It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

    Brand Names

    • Kaopectate®
    • Pepto-Bismol®

    Loperamide

    (loe per' a mide)

    WHY is this medicine prescribed?

    Loperamide is used to control diarrhea. It is available with or without a prescription.
    This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

    HOW should this medicine be used?

    Loperamide comes as a tablet, capsule, and liquid to take by mouth. It usually is taken immediately after each loose bowel movement; it is sometimes taken on a schedule (one or more times a day) for chronic diarrhea. Follow the directions on the package or on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take loperamide exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
    If your symptoms do not improve within 2 days (10 days for chronic diarrhea) or if you develop a fever or bloody stools, call your doctor. Drink plenty of water or other beverages to replace fluids lost while having diarrhea.

    What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?

    Before taking loperamide,
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to loperamide or any other drugs.
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking.
    • tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have a fever.
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking loperamide, call your doctor.
    • you should know that this drug may make you drowsy and dizzy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you.
    • remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this drug.

    What should I do IF I FORGET to take a dose?

    If you are taking scheduled doses of loperamide, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

    What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?

    Loperamide may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
    • dry mouth
    • dizziness
    • drowsiness
    • vomiting
    • stomach pain, discomfort, or distention (enlargement)
    • constipation
    • fatigue
    If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
    • skin rash
    • hives
    • itching
    • wheezing
    • difficulty breathing
    If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch ] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

    What should I know about STORAGE and DISPOSAL of this medication?

    Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

    What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?

    Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about taking this medicine.
    It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

    Brand Names

    • Diamode®
    • Diar-Aid®
    • Imodium®
    • Imotil®
    • K-Pek II®
    • Kao-Paverin®
    • Kaopectate 1-D®
    • Maalox® Anti-Diarrheal
    • Pepto® Diarrhea Control
    • Imodium® Advanced (as a combination product containing Loperamide, Simethicone)
    • Also available generically
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