Tag Archives: colds

Pepto Bismol and Children

The Pink Stuff – Harmless or Deadly…

Bismuth Sub-salicylate is a drug used to treat temporary discomforts of the stomach and gastrointestinal tract such as diarrhea, indigestion, heartburn and nausea. Commonly known as pink bismuth, it is the active ingredient in medications such as Pepto-Bismol and Kaopectate.

Bismuth subsalicylate is in a class of medications called antidiarrheal agents. It works by decreasing the flow of fluids and electrolytes into the bowel, reduces inflammation within the intestine, and may kill the organisms that can cause diarrhea.

But, in the gastrointestinal tract, Bismuth Sub-salicylate is converted to salicylic acid (aspirin) and insoluble bismuth harmless_or_deadly_find_outsalts.

There are adverse effects with this drug, most prominently; Reye’s Syndrome. It can also cause a black tongue and black stools in some users of the drug, when it combines with trace amounts of sulfur in saliva and the colon to form bismuth sulfide. Bismuth sulfide is a highly insoluble black salt, and the discoloration seen is temporary and and supposedly harmless.

Children should not take medication with bismuth subsalicylate because epidemiologic evidence points to an association between the use of salicylate-containing medications during viral infections and the onset of Reye’s Syndrome.

Never give a child under the age of 19 any product with aspirin when suffering from flu symptoms or a viral infection, including products like Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate!

For the same reason, it is recommended that nursing mothers not use medication containing bismuth subsalicylate like Pepto-Bismol because small amounts of the medication are excreted in breast milk and pose a risk of triggering Reye’s Syndrome to nursing children.

pepto_burnedBismuth subsalicylate is the only active ingredient in an over the counter Drug that can leave a shiny metal oxide slag behind after being completely burnt with a blow torch.

 

 

 

Before you, as an adult, take bismuth subsalicylate:
— tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to salicylate pain relievers such as aspirin, choline magnesium trisalicylate, choline salicylate (Arthropan), diflunisal (Dolobid), magnesium salicylate (Doan’s, others), and salsalate (Argesic, Disalcid, Salgesic); or any other medication.

— tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about taking bismuth subsalicylate if you take: anticoagulants (‘blood thinners’) such as warfarin (Coumadin); a daily aspirin; or medication for diabetes, arthritis or gout.

— if you are taking tetracycline antibiotics such as demeclocycline (Declomycin), doxycycline (Doryx, Vibramycin), minocycline (Dynacin, Minocin), and tetracycline (Sumycin), take them at least 1 hour before or 3 hours after taking bismuth subsalicylate.

— ask your doctor before taking this medication if you have ever had an ulcer, bleeding problem, stools that are bloody or blackened, or kidney disease. Also ask your doctor before taking bismuth subsalicylate if you have a fever or mucus in your stool.

We never recommend giving bismuth subsalicylate to a child or teenager, but if you do, be sure to tell the child’s doctor if the child has any of the following symptoms before he or she receives the medication: vomiting, listlessness, drowsiness, confusion, aggression, seizures, yellowing of the skin or eyes, weakness, or flu-like symptoms. Also tell the child’s doctor if the child has not been drinking normally, has had excessive vomiting or diarrhea, or appears dehydrated.

— ask your doctor about taking this medication if you are pregnant or are breast-feeding.pepto_not_for_kids

Brand Names:
Bismusal®
Kaopectate®
Peptic Relief®
Pepto-Bismol®
Pink Bismuth®
Stomach Relief®

You can get a complete list of medications containing bismuth subsalicylate by clicking this link

Please think twice, and read the label warnings, before giving a child under the age of 19 any drugs that contain aspirin, salicylates, or bismuth-subsalicylate! You can get a list of ‘other names for aspirin’ here.

And always remember: Kids and Aspirin Products DON’T Mix!

Related Information:

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Multiple Combination Medicines and Your Child

Know Active Ingredients in Children’s Meds

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If your child is sneezing up a storm, it must be allergy season once more.

And if your child is taking more than one medication at the same time, there could be dangerous health consequences if those medicines have the same active ingredient, according to Hari Cheryl Sachs, M.D., a pediatrician at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

A medicine is made of many components. Some are “inactive” and only help it to taste better or dissolve faster, while others are active. An active ingredient in a medicine is the component that makes it pharmaceutically active—it makes the medicine effective against the illness or condition it is treating.

Active ingredients are listed first on a medicine’s Drug Facts label for over-the-counter (OTC) products. For prescription medicines, they are listed in a patient package insert or consumer information sheet provided by the pharmacist.

Many medicines have just one active ingredient. But combination medicines, such as those for allergy, cough, or fever and congestion, may have more than one.

Take antihistamines taken for allergies. “Too much antihistamine can cause sedation and—paradoxically—agitation. In rare cases, it can cause breathing problems, including decreased oxygen or increased carbon dioxide in the blood, Sachs says.

“We’re just starting allergy season,” says Sachs. “Many parents may be giving their children at least one product with an antihistamine in it.” Over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines (with brand name examples) include diphenhydramine (Benadryl), chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton), clemastine (Tavist), fexofenadine (Allegra), loratadine (Claritin, Alavert), and cetirizine (Zyrtec).

multiple_combination_medicinesBut parents may also be treating their children for a separate ailment, such as a cough or cold. What they need to realize is that more than one combination medicine may be one too many.

“It’s important not to inadvertently give your child a double dose,” Sachs says.

Other Health Complications

The same goes for other active ingredients, often found in combination products for allergies but also used to treat other symptoms, such as fever, headache or nasal congestion:

  • Acetaminophen (in Tylenol and many other products), a pain reliever often used to treat fevers, mild pain or headache. Taking too much can cause liver damage.
  • Ibuprofen (for example, Advil or Motrin), another common medicine for relieving mild to moderate pain from headaches, sinus pressure, muscle aches and flu, as well as to reduce fever. Too much ibuprofen can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, severe stomach pain, even kidney failure.
  • Decongestants such as pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine (found in brand name drugs such as Actifed and Sudafed) taken in large amounts can cause excessive drowsiness in children. They can also cause heart rhythm disturbances, especially if combined with products and foods containing caffeine. In the form of nasal sprays and nose drops, these products, as well as oxymetazoline (the active ingredients in products such as Afrin), can cause “rebound” congestion, in which the nose remains stuffy or gets even worse.

Never give a child aspirin or aspirin containing products, as you risk triggering Reye’s Syndrome, a deadly disease!

Any of the above symptoms may indicate a need for immediate medical attention. “The bottom line is that neither you, nor your children, should take multiple combination medicines at the same time without checking the active ingredients and consulting your health care professional first,” recommends Sachs.

Furthermore, two different active ingredients may serve the same purpose, Sachs says. For example, both acetaminophen and ibuprofen help reduce pain and fever. So there’s generally no need to give your child both medicines for the same symptoms.

Write It All Down

Whether you’re treating your child’s condition with OTC medicines from the drug store or ones prescribed by your doctor, it’s essential that you keep track of every medicine and the active ingredients each contains, Sachs says.

“It’s easy to forget which medicines you’re giving your child,” Sachs says. “And if you have more than one child, it can get even more complicated.” She recommends making it a habit to write down the name of any medicine you give your child, whether it’s OTC or prescription (download a daily medicine records template).

“It’s really a good idea to carry that list with you when you go to see your pediatrician or even when you go to the pharmacy,” she adds. You should also note whatever vitamins or supplements your child is taking, as these can interact unfavorably with certain medicines, too.

Most importantly, Sachs says parents should always read the Drug Facts label on OTC products, and the patient package insert or consumer information sheet that comes with prescription medicines, every time they’re considering a medication for their child, even if they think they already know the ingredients. They should know that the ingredients can change without an obvious change in the packaging. And they should contact their health care professional with any questions.

A list of ingredients to avoid, (other names for aspirin) can be downloaded here, or you can email the NRSF for a wallet size card(s) you can carry with you when shopping for medications.

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