How long does it take for Pepto Bismol to work? (2024)

Medically reviewed by Kristianne Hannemann, PharmD. Last updated on May 22, 2024.

How long does it take for Pepto Bismol to work? (1)

Official answer

by Drugs.com

Pepto-Bismol (also known as the “pink stuff”) is a medication that is commonly used to treat diarrhea and upset stomach. It is available over the counter as an oral liquid, capsules, and chewable tablets. Pepto-Bismol usually works within 30 to 60 minutes.

What is Pepto-Bismol used for?

The active ingredient in Pepto-Bismol, bismuth subsalicylate, works to relieve upset stomach and is also an antidiarrheal. Pepto-Bismol can be taken for the following stomach problems:

  • Traveler’s diarrhea
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Gas
  • Burping
  • Fullness

How often can you take Pepto-Bismol?

Adults and children 12 years and older can take one dose of Pepto-Bismol every 30 to 60 minutes until symptoms improve. Do not take more than 8 doses in 24 hours, and do not take Pepto-Bismol for more than 2 days to treat your symptoms without consulting your doctor.

Make sure to read the instructions on the packaging, since Pepto-Bismol comes as a liquid, capsules, and chewable tablets. This means the amount you need to take for each dose varies.

Pepto-Bismol may not be the best option for everyone. It is not recommended for the following situations:

  • People with an active stomach ulcer, a bleeding problem, or who have bloody or black stools
  • Children or teens who are recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms because of the risk of a serious illness called Reye’s syndrome
  • Pregnant women

Additionally, if you have a fever or mucus in your stool, ask your doctor before using Pepto-Bismol.

Related questions

  • Can you give Pepto Bismol to kids?
  • Why does Pepto-Bismol turn your tongue black?
  • Does Pepto-Bismol help with diarrhea?

Can you take Pepto-Bismol for stomach pain?

Yes. Pepto-Bismol can be used for an upset stomach that is due to eating too much food or drink. However, if your stomach symptoms are not going away after taking Pepto-Bismol or are severe, you should get medical attention.

References

Pepto-Bismol [package insert]. Revised 10/2023. The Procter & Gamble Manufacturing Company - https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=67006e82-870d-8d63-e053-2991aa0a02d1

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Updated June 2022). Pregnant Travelers. Available from: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/pregnant-travelers

Pepto-bismol.com. When and How to Take Pepto Bismol. Accessed May 22, 2024 at https://pepto-bismol.com/en-us/faq/dosage

Read next

Black hairy tongue is often caused by an overgrowth of papillae (taste buds) on the tongue. It results in a dark, furry appearance of dead skin cells on the surface of the tongue that can be stained from bacteria, food, or tobacco. Although it may be unpleasant, it doesn't usually require medical treatment and it's temporary and harmless. Continue reading

There is controversy about whether you should routinely take probiotics with antibiotics and the question cannot be answered with a straight yes or no. Evidence for taking probiotics with antibiotics includes a Cochrane review which reported that children who were given a course of probiotics after antibiotics had less diarrhea. Evidence against taking probiotics with antibiotics includes a 2019 Italian study that reported that the gut microbiome of people given probiotics after antibiotics took six months to return to its normal state compared to only three weeks for those not given any probiotics. More studies are needed before a definite statement can be made. Continue reading

When you have a stomach virus, it is best to eat bland and easy to-digest foods until your symptoms improve, such as:

  • soda crackers (“saltines”)
  • plain toast
  • gelatin (“jello”)
  • bananas
  • rice
  • plain chicken

It’s best to stay away from caffeine, dairy, alcohol, high amounts of sugar, and fried or spicy foods until you feel better. Continue reading

Related medical questions

  • Pepto-Bismol - How long will your stool be dark for?
  • How to stop diarrhea - any medicine or remedy suggestions?
  • My stool has changed color. What does it mean?
  • Is using expired Pepto-Bismol a hazard or health risk?
  • Over the Counter Medication for Pets
  • How long does the flu last for?
  • Can antibiotics cause diarrhea?
  • What type of diarrhea does Aemcolo (rifamycin) treat?
  • Why does metformin cause diarrhea?
  • How long does Imodium stop diarrhea for?
  • Can Flagyl be used to treat diarrhea?
  • Can you take metformin without food?
  • Does Flagyl cause diarrhea?
  • Why is my poop green? What does this mean?
  • Why does Ofev cause diarrhea?
  • What type of pain does fibromyalgia cause?
  • If I am Lactose Intolerant or Lactose Allergic, are there Medications I should Avoid?
  • I think I have an allergy to my antibiotic! What can I do to treat my infection?
  • What's the buzz on Ozempic and Wegovy?
  • When does diarrhea start when taking Nerlynx?
  • What OTC drugs relieve tripledemic symptoms in kids?
  • What are some tips for treating diarrhea?
  • What do I need to know about Medications/Vaccinations before I Travel?
  • Oral Chemotherapy at Home

Drug information

  • Pepto-Bismol Information for Consumers
  • Side Effects of Pepto-Bismol(detailed)

Related support groups

  • Pepto-Bismol(29 questions, 16 members)
  • Diarrhea(208 questions, 393 members)
  • Indigestion(44 questions, 87 members)
  • Traveler's Diarrhea(9 questions, 5 members)

Medical Disclaimer

How long does it take for Pepto Bismol to work? (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Catherine Tremblay

Last Updated:

Views: 5439

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (67 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Catherine Tremblay

Birthday: 1999-09-23

Address: Suite 461 73643 Sherril Loaf, Dickinsonland, AZ 47941-2379

Phone: +2678139151039

Job: International Administration Supervisor

Hobby: Dowsing, Snowboarding, Rowing, Beekeeping, Calligraphy, Shooting, Air sports

Introduction: My name is Catherine Tremblay, I am a precious, perfect, tasty, enthusiastic, inexpensive, vast, kind person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.