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Old 10-15-2004, 04:44 PM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 76
Has Pepto-Bismol ever made your tongue turn black?

The other Pepto Bismol discussion in IMHO reminded me to ask this. I've taken PB two or three times a year for most of my life. I have read the warnings on the back (because I read everything from cereal boxes to want ads when I'm bored), and one side effect is a "temporary blackening of the tongue."

So a few months ago, I chewed two of the tablets, and the next morning, my tongue was black. Really black. Like I'd just eaten a bag of charcoal. Nothing took it off, not a toothbrush, not scrubbing with a washcloth, not even hand soap! I had to go out to lunch like that, and I was mortified, and refused to smile or even look up while I was talking. By 3 or 4 that afternoon, it had mostly gone away.

I did a Google search, and found that the active ingredients can apparently react with a compound found in onions and garlic. It's just bizarre that this has never happened to me before, and the effect was so extreme. Has this happened to anyone else? How common is it? Is there any way to get rid of the discoloration quickly?

Old 10-15-2004, 05:27 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: noitacol
Posts: 4,562
It has definitely happened to me. No, it's not pretty. I tend to be pretty oblivious to stuff, especially if I were to be, say, really busy and a little sick to my stomach. I can imagine myself really freaking someone out with a big black smile and having no idea...

Very interesting point about the onions and garlic, especially since they are some of the main things that drives me to pepto.
Old 10-15-2004, 05:31 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Sector R
Posts: 3,891
If you travel someplace where stomach upsets are common, popping a couple of Pepto caplets three or four times a day can go a long way towards protecting you from traveler's diarrhea. The catch is that it turns your feces dark black. Very weird.
Old 10-15-2004, 08:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Surrounded by books
Posts: 2,530
When I was younger, my mom advised me to hold Pepto in my mouth to help canker sores feel better. Doing this right before bed usually resulted in a black tongue, but I would just scrub off as much as possible with a toothbrush.
Old 10-15-2004, 10:33 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Panama City Beach, FL
Posts: 352
The active ingredient in Pepto-Bismol, bismuth subsalicylate, causes the black tongue and stools.

In some patients bismuth subsalicylate may cause dark tongue and/or grayish black stools. This is only temporary and will go away when you stop taking this medicine.
From: MedlinePlus Drug Information
Old 10-15-2004, 11:56 PM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: SF
Posts: 108
THat happenned to me years ago. The first think that came to mind was that disney cartoon how Donald Duck thought he was going to die because his tongue changed colour. Freaked me out for awhile...then i read the label.
Old 10-16-2004, 12:07 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 225
Originally Posted by Early Out
The catch is that it turns your feces dark black. Very weird.
Very weird doesn't even begin to describe it. Freaked Me Right The Hell Out would be closer. The two events (taking it and, umm, expelling it) were separated by enough time that the cause/effect relationship was not foremost in my mind.

My only thought at the time was that my (poor, much abused) liver had given up the ghost. I figured I had a couple of days at best before I turned yellow and keeled over.
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