Last update May 4, 2022

Bismuth Salicylate

Likely Compatibility

Fairly safe. Mild or unlikely adverse effects. Compatible under certain circumstances. Follow-up recommended. Read Commentary.

Bismuth salicylate contains about 60% bismuth and 40% salicylate.  It is used against gastritis and diarrhea. Oral administration

At latest update no published data on excretion into breast milk were found.

A very small amount of bismuth is absorbed from the gut: ≈ 0.1% (Tora 2020, Chen 2010, Boertz 2009, Dresow 1992, Nwokolo 1990: Bismuth is not absorbed into the systemic circulation of the mother, so it cannot be excreted in breast milk.

Salicylate is well absorbed (Nwokolo 1990), but is excreted in breast milk in negligible amounts, and the infant receives a relative dose of 1% (see Aspirin) and no cases of Reye's syndrome have been reported after taking bismuth salicylate or other non-acetylated salicylate compounds.

Due to the otherwise minimum risk of Reye's syndrome and the indiscriminate use of bismuth subsalicylate for treatment of gastroenteritis cannot be justifiable since most of gastroenteritis do not require medication instead a simply adequate hydration, a safer alternative should be desirable while breastfeeding. (Chen 2010, Nice 2000) 

See below the information of these related products:

  • Aspirin (Fairly safe. Mild or unlikely adverse effects. Compatible under certain circumstances. Follow-up recommended. Read Commentary.)
  • Bismuth salts (not salicylate) (Safe substance and/or breastfeeding is the best option.)


Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Bismuth Salicylate is also known as

Bismuth Salicylate in other languages or writings:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Bismuth Salicylate in its composition:


Variable Value Unit
Oral Bioavail. Bi: < 1 - Salic: 80 %
Molecular weight 362 daltons
Protein Binding Bi: 90 - Salic: 70 - 95 %


  1. Tora. Subcitrato de bismuto (Gastrodenol). Ficha técnica. 2020 Full text (in our servers)
  2. Chen LH, Zeind C, Mackell S, LaPointe T, Mutsch M, Wilson ME. Breastfeeding travelers: precautions and recommendations. J Travel Med. 2010 Jan-Feb;17(1):32-47. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  3. Boertz J, Hartmann LM, Sulkowski M, Hippler J, Mosel F, Diaz-Bone RA, Michalke K, Rettenmeier AW, Hirner AV. Determination of trimethylbismuth in the human body after ingestion of colloidal bismuth subcitrate. Drug Metab Dispos. 2009 Feb;37(2):352-8. Abstract
  4. Nice FJ, Snyder JL, Kotansky BC. Breastfeeding and over-the-counter medications. J Hum Lact. 2000 Nov;16(4):319-31. Review. Erratum in: J Hum Lact 2001 Feb;17(1):90. Abstract
  5. Dresow B, Fischer R, Gabbe EE, Wendel J, Heinrich HC. Bismuth absorption from 205Bi-labelled pharmaceutical bismuth compounds used in the treatment of peptic ulcer disease. Scand J Gastroenterol. 1992 Apr;27(4):333-6. Abstract
  6. Nwokolo CU, Mistry P, Pounder RE. The absorption of bismuth and salicylate from oral doses of Pepto-Bismol (bismuth salicylate). Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1990 Apr;4(2):163-9. Abstract

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