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


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.


Pepto-Bismol [package insert]. Revised 10/2023. The Procter & Gamble Manufacturing Company -

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Updated June 2022). Pregnant Travelers. Available from: When and How to Take Pepto Bismol. Accessed May 22, 2024 at

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Drug information

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

Related support groups

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