Use Pepto-Bismol with caution

pepto-bismolThe FDA issues a warning

In my last post about treating heartburn, I mentioned Pepto-Bismol as one of several inexpensive and readily available over-the-counter treatments.

I also said that anyone who is allergic or sensitive to aspirin should not use Pepto-Bismol because it contains salicylic acid, or aspirin.

Aspirin is a blood thinner and can cause bleeding in the stomach. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a consumer warning that anyone sensitive to aspirin, or anyone taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, should consider other options to treat heartburn.

Read the label and follow the directions!

I frequently see friends and family members swig Pepto straight out of the bottle without stopping to measure the proper dose first. This makes me crazy!

The recommended dose of Pepto-Bismol for an adult is 2 Tablespoons or 30 milliliters (just use the measuring cup that comes with the bottle). The label says not to take more than 8 doses over a 24-hour period.

Please, please always read the directions on the label of any medication, prescription or over-the-counter! This is especially important when dosing children.

Who else should avoid Pepto-Bismol

The FDA consumer alert also included a list of people that should avoid using Pepto-Bismol, generic Pepto-Bismol, or any antacid containing salicylic acid:

You are at higher risk for bleeding with these products if you:

  • Are 60 or older.
  • Have a history of stomach ulcers or bleeding problems.
  • Take drugs that reduce the ability of your blood to clot (also known as anticoagulants or blood-thinning drugs).
  • Take steroid medicine, such as prednisone, to reduce inflammation.
  • Take other medicines containing NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
  • Drink three or more alcoholic drinks every day.

Pepto-Bismol has been around forever and is probably in most people’s medicine cabinets. Just be aware that it can cause costly problems if not used properly.

Sláinte,

Frugal Nurse

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