Conditions like watery discharge of stools/diarrhea and a few other abdominal discomforts can impair productivity levels. Timely administration of medications is required to arrest a greater loss of bodily fluids. Though a few over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are available for such conditions, it is a safe thing to seek support from a qualified healthcare professional. In this light, a drug called pepto-bismol is widely used for most of the above conditions. But, does using expired pepto-bismol pose a health risk or hazard? It becomes essential to know more in this regard.

It is quite likely to encounter discomforts like indigestion or dyspepsia, diarrhea, heartburn or upset of your tummy. Of these, indigestion is caused by impaired digestive function. It is often accompanied by pain in your lower abdomen, frequent spells of belching, etc. On the other hand, diarrhea is characterised by discharge of loose stools or watery movement of bowels. If left unattended, this condition may leave you dehydrated owing to an excessive loss of fluids.

Heartburn is experienced when gastric acids climb into your food pipe. You may experience signs such as pain in your chest, a stabbing sensation as well as nausea (often with belching). Upset of stomach has a distinct pain in your gastric tract as well as stomach. Upon observing any of these conditions, your caregiving team is likely to prescribe antacids to bring about needful relief.

Pepto-bismol: What is it?

This drug is derived off salicylic acid. Chemical name of this med is bismuth subsalicylate. It is known to have antibacterial as well as anti-inflammatory properties. As an extended capability, it is also known to function as an antacid. The key ingredients help absorb electrolytes and fluids onto the walls of your intestines; they also decrease internal swelling/inflammation. This drug is also known to decrease motility of your stomach.

It also has minor traces of metals like bismuth; it helps control the progression of bacterial strands in the gastric region. Pepto-bismol can be procured now as an over the counter (OTC) med in many parts of the world. It is widely available both as pills (swallowed) and chewable forms. However, the most popular version is its original form – i.e., a thicker liquid form. It is also sold as a generic drug; its branded counterparts are also widely available through drugstores and online pharmacies.

Is the use of expired pepto-bismol a health risk or a hazard?

It can be dangerous to use the expired form of pepto-bismol. The odds of toxicity and internal accumulation are quite high during such usage. It can be dangerous for breastfeeding mothers to use this drug. Residue of this drug can get into mother’s milk. Your feeding infant may develop a few side effects such as incessant crying, difficulties to fall asleep or feeding problems.

Expired forms of pepto-bismol may also cause severe spells of constipation or difficulties to pass stools. It can be damaging to children – especially, to those who are recovering from chicken pox or other forms of infections, including flu. In some rare cases, some users have developed Reye’s syndrome. This is a severe brain-related condition. Typical signs of this syndrome are being in a confused state of mind, changes in personality and losing one’s consciousness. This syndrome is often linked to the intake of salicylate-based drugs when you are down with viral infections.

This drug must never be taken for a longer term. If you are using pepto-bismol for more than 5 weeks’ time, odds of toxic accumulation are high. A few users have complained of ringing deep inside their ears, a rapid respiratory cycle, nausea, etc. Moreover, if you are observing a sudden change (mostly a drop) in your blood sugar levels, inflammation of lungs, etc. take needful medical support on an emergency basis. Users of pepto-bismol may contact 911 quickly (if you are in US). Those who live in Canada can take medical help from Health Canada.


Information provided here are only of supplementary nature. Information shared here does not substitute a qualified doctor’s advice. This website is not suggesting intake of this drug as safe or appropriate. Hence it is advised to talk to your doctor before consuming this med or any other drug.

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