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Observations placeholder

Pepto-bismol hallucinations



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


Pepto-Bismol is an over-the-counter drug used to treat minor digestive system upset. Its active ingredient is bismuth subsalicylate. The primary symptoms that Pepto-Bismol are used for include nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea, and other temporary discomforts of the stomach and gastrointestinal tract.
Pepto-Bismol is made in chewable tablets and swallowable caplets, but is best known for its original formula which is a thick liquid. This original formula is a medium pink color with a strong wintergreen or cherry flavor.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), gastric reflux disease, or acid reflux disease is a chronic symptom of mucosal damage caused by stomach acid coming up from the stomach into the esophagus.

Collagenous colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease affecting the colon specifically with peak incidence in the 5th decade of life, affecting women more than men. Its clinical presentation involves watery diarrhea, usually in the absence of rectal bleeding

A description of the experience

Pepto bismuth associated neurotoxicity: A rare side effect of a commonly used medication.  Masannat Y, Nazer E. Department of Internal Medicine, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Marshall University, Huntington, WV 25701, USA. masannat@live.marshall.edu

A 56 years old female with medical history significant for collagenous colitis and GERD for which she was taking Pepto Bismuth for months.

She presented with progressive confusion for two weeks, followed by myoclonus, tremors, gait instability and visual hallucinations.

Patient was admitted and comprehensive work up was done over a ten day course. This included a CBC, CCP CT head, MRI brain, EEG, Lumbar puncture, and various antibody and serology testing which were all essentially unremarkable.

It was noted that patient had been taking OTC Pepto Bismuth chronically for GI symptoms. Based upon the unrevealing work up, serum and urine samples for Bismuth levels were sent and returned markedly positive in both samples. Bismuth was held on admission and over the ten day hospitalization, patient showed gradual improvement of her cognitive function. She also showed resolution of her abnormal movements, myoclonus and visual hallucinations. Her gait continued to improve and required extended period of physical therapy post discharge. Her subsequent follow up visits showed resolution to baseline at four months post discharge.

PMID: 23798279

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps