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Bismuth Subsalicylate (By mouth)

Treats diarrhea, heartburn, nausea, and upset stomach. This medicine contains a salicylate and is related to aspirin.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

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… Read more
Brand names include
Bismatrol, Bismuth Extra Strength, Bismuth Original Formula, Compliments Bismuth - Regular Strength, Diotame, Diotame InstyDose, Diotame Stomach Relief, Good Neighbor Pharmacy K-Pec, Good Neighbor Pharmacy Stomach Relief, Good Sense Stomach Relief, Kao-Tin, Kaopectate, Kaopectate Children's, Kapectolin, Kola-Pectin, Peptic Relief, Pepto Bismol, Pepto Bismol Max, Pepto-Bismol, Pepto-Bismol InstaCool, Stomach Relief - Regular Formula, Up & Up Bismuth - Regular Strength, Up & Up Extra Strength Bismuth
Drug classes About this
Antacid, Bismuth Containing, Antidiarrheal
Combinations including this drug

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Treatments for lymphocytic colitis

Budesonide is a corticosteroid drug that is quickly metabolized by the liver thereby decreasing drug‐related side‐effects. This review demonstrates that budesonide may be effective for treating chronic diarrhea associated with lymphocytic colitis over a six week period. There is also weaker evidence that mesalazine with or without cholestyramine may be effective for treating chronic diarrhea associated with lymphocytic colitis over a six month period. These and other agents require further study before they can be recommended as treatment options for lymphocytic colitis.

Treatments for collagenous colitis

Budesonide is a corticosteroid drug that is rapidly metabolized by the liver thereby reducing corticosteroid‐related side effects. This review demonstrates that budesonide is effective for treating chronic diarrhea associated with collagenous colitis over a 6 to 8 week period, and maintaining that response over 6 months. Budesonide also appears to improve patients' quality of life. There is also weaker evidence that bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol), a non‐steroid therapy, may be effective for treating collagenous colitis over an 8 week period. Mesalamine with or without cholestyramine may also be effective for treating chronic diarrhea associated with collagenous colitis over a 6 month treatment period. There is no evidence of the effectiveness of other treatments such as Boswellia serrata extract, prednisolone and probiotics. These agents require further study before they can be recommended as treatment options for collagenous colitis.

Use of antimotility drugs (Loperamide, Diphenoxylate, Codeine) to control prolonged diarrhoea in people with HIV/AIDS.

People with HIV/AIDS often develop prolonged diarrhoea which are sometimes not caused by infections. This is more so in the sub‐Saharan Africa where drugs for controlling HIV itself i.e. antiretroviral drugs (ARV) may not be widely available or affordable. prolonged diarrhoea often results in prolonged illness and death due to loss of fluids, if not treated effectively and on time. Antimotility drugs and adsorbents are readily available and are used to try to control this condition while efforts are made to receive ARVs. We did not find enough evidence to support or refute their use in controlling this condition.

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Summaries for consumers

Treatments for lymphocytic colitis

Budesonide is a corticosteroid drug that is quickly metabolized by the liver thereby decreasing drug‐related side‐effects. This review demonstrates that budesonide may be effective for treating chronic diarrhea associated with lymphocytic colitis over a six week period. There is also weaker evidence that mesalazine with or without cholestyramine may be effective for treating chronic diarrhea associated with lymphocytic colitis over a six month period. These and other agents require further study before they can be recommended as treatment options for lymphocytic colitis.

Treatments for collagenous colitis

Budesonide is a corticosteroid drug that is rapidly metabolized by the liver thereby reducing corticosteroid‐related side effects. This review demonstrates that budesonide is effective for treating chronic diarrhea associated with collagenous colitis over a 6 to 8 week period, and maintaining that response over 6 months. Budesonide also appears to improve patients' quality of life. There is also weaker evidence that bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol), a non‐steroid therapy, may be effective for treating collagenous colitis over an 8 week period. Mesalamine with or without cholestyramine may also be effective for treating chronic diarrhea associated with collagenous colitis over a 6 month treatment period. There is no evidence of the effectiveness of other treatments such as Boswellia serrata extract, prednisolone and probiotics. These agents require further study before they can be recommended as treatment options for collagenous colitis.

Use of antimotility drugs (Loperamide, Diphenoxylate, Codeine) to control prolonged diarrhoea in people with HIV/AIDS.

People with HIV/AIDS often develop prolonged diarrhoea which are sometimes not caused by infections. This is more so in the sub‐Saharan Africa where drugs for controlling HIV itself i.e. antiretroviral drugs (ARV) may not be widely available or affordable. prolonged diarrhoea often results in prolonged illness and death due to loss of fluids, if not treated effectively and on time. Antimotility drugs and adsorbents are readily available and are used to try to control this condition while efforts are made to receive ARVs. We did not find enough evidence to support or refute their use in controlling this condition.

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