Side Effects of Pepto-Bismol

Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate) is an over-the-counter medication used to manage heartburn, nausea, indigestion and stomach problems. According to MedlinePlus, Pepto-Bismol is an antidiarrheal medication that decreases intestinal inflammation and fluid and electrolyte movement in your bowels. Pepto-Bismlo is available as a liquid or tablet and should be used as the package insert indicates.

Pepto-Bismol is an over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medication. Credit: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Common Side Effects

Pepto-Bismol can commonly lead to constipation, a black tongue and dark-colored stools, says MedlinePlus. These side effects are rather harmless but discontinue Pepto-Bismol if these symptoms last for 3 to 5 days. These symptoms should decrease and eventually disappear.

Serious Side Effects

MedlinePlus says that Pepto-Bismol may cause tinnitus (a sensation of ringing in your ears). says that Pepto-Bismol can also lead to severe stomach pains, diarrhea that lasts for more than 2 days and hearing loss. Pepto-Bismol can cause anxiety, rapid breathing, confusion, slurred speech, increased thirst, depression and severe nausea or vomiting. It can cause a severe headache, muscle weakness, trembling, sweating, visual problems and involuntary body movements. Notify your doctor immediately when you have these side effects. says that Pepto-Bismol can cause a potentially life threatening condition called Reye's syndrome. This condition is characterized by vomiting, tiredness and confusion.

Additional Concerns

Avoid Pepto-Bismol if you are allergic to it. You may develop trouble breathing, hives and swelling of your face, throat and lips. Call 911 as this is life threatening. says that you should tell your doctor whether you are taking warfarin, insulin, alteplase, aspirin or probenecid. These drugs may combine with Pepto-Bismol and cause the aforementioned side effects. Inform your doctor about your over-the-counter medications, vitamins, supplements and herbs as these can also interact with Pepto-Bismol and cause the aforementioned effects. says that Pepto-Bismol can contaminate breast milk so tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding.

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