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Please Pass (On) the Pepto!

You may (or may not) realize it--but there are antacid products on the US pharmaceutical market that contain "salicylates"--which are a form of aspirin.  One example it Pepto-Bismol®: just look at the active ingredients and you'll see the term "bismuth subsalicylate".

Herein lies the salicylates are a form of aspirin, they carry all the risks of aspirin and all the other NSAID drugs.  Recently the FDA has been monitoring reports of increased bleed risk with use of these drugs.  Many people take a daily dose of aspirin to reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack. Who would think that taking a product for an upset stomach on top of this could be such a serious problem?

My advice to you...ALWAYS read labels carefully when you purchase over the counter products. Just because a product is available over-the-counter does not mean it's risk free.  Make sure you understand exactly what you are taking and why you are taking it!  Check with your pharmacist to make sure that there are no drug interactions with any other medications or supplements that you are already using.

Getting back to the "Pepto problem", here is a list of things that could put a person at increased bleed risk when using antacids containing salicylates:

• age older than 60 years;
• a history of stomach ulcers or bleeding problems;
• taking blood thinners or steroids;
• taking other products containing NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen;
• drinking three or more alcoholic beverages every day; and
• taking more of these medicines than the amount recommended or for a longer period 
than recommended, which increases the risk for serious bleeding.

Sources: PainMedicineNews; Wikimedia


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