3 Ways to Take Pepto Bismol (2024)

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1Using Liquid Pepto-Bismol

2Taking Pepto-Bismol Liquicaps or Chewables

3Deciding When to Take Pepto-Bismol

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Tips and Warnings

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Medically reviewed byLuba Lee, FNP-BC, MS

Last Updated: September 14, 2023References

Pepto-Bismol is a medication that relieves common stomach issues such as bloating, diarrhea, heartburn, nausea, indigestion, and gas. It contains the active ingredient bismuth subsalicylate, and it comes in liquid, tablet, and chewable forms.[1] Dosing is fairly easy, as the bottle comes with a measuring cup or you can just take the pills for very easy dosing.

Method 1

Method 1 of 3:

Using Liquid Pepto-Bismol

  1. 1

    Shake the bottle up thoroughly. Because the medication is dissolved in a liquid, it can settle to the bottom. To make sure you're getting an appropriate dose, check the lid is on tightly and then shake the bottle back and forth for 15-30 seconds.[2]

  2. 2

    Measure out 30 mL (2 tablespoons). For the easiest way to measure, use the provided cup and fill it to the 30 mL line. You can also use a tablespoon, but make sure to use an actual measuring spoon, not just a regular spoon from the silverware drawer. This dose contains 525 milligrams of bismuth subsalicylate.[3]

    • Using a regular spoon will not give you an accurate measurement.
    • Children 12 and over can take the same dose. If your child is under 12, talk to your doctor.
    • With Pepto-Bismol Ultra, you take 15 mL (1 tablespoon) every half hour or 30 mL (2 tablespoons) every hour. 15 mL (1 tablespoon) contains 525 mg of bismuth subsalicylate.


  3. 3

    Swallow the medicine you measured out. Pour the medicine in your mouth and then swallow it. You can follow it with some water or juice to help wash it down if you need to. If you want to, you can refrigerate the product to make it more palatable.

    • If you don't like the taste, you can take the liquid with other food to mask the flavor. For instance, you can mix it with applesauce. However, make sure you eat all of it to get the full benefit.
    • Wash out the measuring cup or spoon when you're done.
  4. 4

    Take a dose every 30 to 60 minutes as needed. You can take this medication every 30 to 60 minutes as long as you are still having stomach issues. However, don't go over 8 doses in a 24-hour period.[4]

    • If you're taking Pepto-Bismol Ultra, don't exceed 4 doses in a 24-hour period.[5]
  5. 5

    Discuss treatment with your doctor if you still have symptoms after 2 days. If you continue to have diarrhea or other stomach symptoms for more than 48 hours, call your doctor. They may want to put you on another treatment plan.[6]

    • Also talk to your doctor if you have hearing loss or ringing in your ears. This side effect is rare, but it can happen.


Method 2

Method 2 of 3:

Taking Pepto-Bismol Liquicaps or Chewables

  1. 1

    Dose out 2 pills of the medication. Both Liquicaps and Chewables contain 262 milligrams per pill, so a standard dose is 2 pills. With the Liquicaps, you will need to open a blister pack by peeling back the paper and punching the pills through the foil.[7]

    • You can use the same dose for children 12 and over. Do not give medications containing bismuth subsalicylate to children under 12.
    • With Pepto-Bismol Ultra Caplets, you can take 1 pill every half hour or 2 pills every hour.[8]
  2. 2

    Dissolve Pepto-Bismol Chewable Tablets in your mouth. You can simply chew up this medication and swallow the resulting liquid. Alternatively, allow the medication to dissolve in your mouth without chewing and then swallow the medication.[9]

    • You can follow up the pills with water once they're dissolved.
  3. 3

    Swallow Pepto-Bismol Liquicaps or Caplets whole with water. Take a small sip of water and swallow it. Place the pills on your tongue near the back of your throat, and then take a large gulp of water. Swallow both the pills and water in one large gulp.

    • If you need to, you can take the pills one at a time.
  4. 4

    Repeat the dose every 30 minutes to an hour as needed. You can continue taking this medicine while you still have issues. However, don't go over 8 doses in a 24-hour period.[10]

    • For Pepto-Bismol Ultra, don't exceed 4 doses in a 24-hour period.
  5. 5

    Talk to your doctor after 2 days if you still have symptoms. If you're still having stomach issues after 48 hours, consult with your doctor before taking more. You could have a more serious condition that needs treatment.[11]

    • Also, talk to your doctor if you experience ringing in your ears or hearing loss.


Method 3

Method 3 of 3:

Deciding When to Take Pepto-Bismol

  1. 1

    Take Pepto-Bismol for diarrhea, upset stomach, indigestion, heartburn, or gas. This medication helps with a multitude of stomach problems. It will provide relief from the symptoms as well as possibly treating the underlying cause of the issue.[12]

  2. 2

    Avoid Pepto-Bismol if you have ulcers, bleeding problems, or bloody stool. This medication can worsen these problems. For instance, it can cause bleeding issues if you have an ulcer. Talk to your doctor about what you can take instead.

    • Bleeding problems can include things like having trouble clotting or having issues with stomach bleeding.
  3. 3

    Skip giving Pepto-Bismol to kids who have flu-like symptoms or chickenpox. Like aspirin, this medication can increase a child's chances of developing Reye's syndrome. Always talk to your doctor before giving your child aspirin or Pepto-Bismol.[13]

    • Do not give any medication containing bismuth subsalicylate to a child under 12.
    • Reye's syndrome is a rare disorder that leads to liver and brain damage.
  4. 4

    Take 2 262-milligram tablets 4 times a day when traveling abroad. About 1/4 of international travelers end up with traveler's diarrhea within 1-2 weeks. However, taking this medication 4 times a day can act as a preventative measure for the diarrhea.[14]

    • Talk to your doctor before trying this regimen.
    • Bring a supply of the medication with you in the original packaging, as you may have trouble finding it where you're going.


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      • Drink extra water to help prevent dehydration from diarrhea. Try to drink an extra glass or 2 of water for the next couple of days to stay hydrated.[15]


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      • Avoid freezing Pepto-Bismol.[16]


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      • Stop taking bismuth subsalicylate right away and see a doctor if you notice worsening symptoms, ringing in your ears or hearing loss, or diarrhea that lasts more than 2 days.[17]


        Helpful0Not Helpful0

      • Don’t take bismuth subsalicylate without your doctor’s consent if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.[18]


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      • Seek immediate medical attention in case of accidental overdose. Keep this medication out of the reach of children to protect them.[19]


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      • This medication can turn your tongue and/or stool darker. However, this condition is harmless and will subside in a few days.[20]


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      About this article

      3 Ways to Take Pepto Bismol (29)

      Medically reviewed by:

      Luba Lee, FNP-BC, MS

      Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner

      This article was medically reviewed by Luba Lee, FNP-BC, MS. Luba Lee, FNP-BC is a Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and educator in Tennessee with over a decade of clinical experience. Luba has certifications in Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), Emergency Medicine, Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Team Building, and Critical Care Nursing. She received her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from the University of Tennessee in 2006. This article has been viewed 15,791 times.

      5 votes - 100%

      Co-authors: 4

      Updated: September 14, 2023


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      Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 15,791 times.

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