Can A Person With Allergy to Aspirin Take “Pepto-Bismol” Bismuth?
Many people have regarded aspirin as a wonder cure drug. It is taken for everything from a slight headache to a fever. Being a nonprescription drug, it is often taken by the senior citizens for arthritis, heart attack, and stroke prevention. Although aspirin is generally safe for most people to take, there is still such a thing as aspirin allergy which, when left untreated could lead to aspirin poisoning. Known as Salicylism, this accidental overdosing of aspirin is most common among people who already have pre-existing stomach problems such as ulcers and various stomach irritations.
Such over dosing usually occurs when a patient is not aware of his aspirin allergy and continues to take drugs that react negatively to aspirin. One such drug that causes Salicylism is Pepto-Bismol Bismuth. Marketed for the past 80 years, Pepto-Bismol contains the active ingredient known as Bismuth Subsalicylate (BSS). The idea is for the BSS to convert to salicylic acid and insoluble bismuth salts once within the gastro intestinal tract. Although it is safe to take this drug for up to four weeks of extended dosing, it is important to remember that an accidental or intentional overdosing on the product causes Fatal Salicylate Ingestion.
Pepto Bismol is composed of Bismuth Subsalicylate and is used in the treatment of diarrhea, heartburn, indigestion, and other stomach illnesses. Ordinarily, Pepto-Bismol is prescribed to be taken as 2 tablets 4 times a day. An ordinary dose of salicylate in an average person, that is 3 mg per kilogram weight of the person does not really display any untoward reactions. Unfortunately, the elderly tend to overdo their medications due to lack of medical supervision and an often misdiagnosed cause of pain, typically diagnosed as neurological.
If a patient, such as the aforementioned one, displays hyperpnea, confusion, lethargy, tinnitus, vomiting, and abdominal pain, the examining physician should suspect salicylism. The truth is that if a person is already taking aspirin for medical maintenance, taking a drug such as Pepto-Bismol, which is a close relative of the aspirin medications, will increase the risk of overdosing and the occurrence of salicylism. Some of the other reactions to an over dose of aspirin include kidney failure, hearing loss, vision difficulties, GI bleeding, confusion, dizziness and headaches.
It is important to note that when taking drugs that contain acetylsalicylic acid ( chemical name for aspirin), a person may accidentally overdose by taking an over the counter drug, such as Pepto-Bismol, which can produce dire reactions and side effects in some patients. Although our kidneys are supposed to function in such a way that it will detoxify our liver and kidneys of the aspirin and other salicylates that we may have unknowingly ingested, the kidney fails to function in the same way once salicylate poisoning takes place.
Due to the overwhelming existence of the toxic by-products in the blood, there a problem emerges with regards to the energy producing system of the body. The body can manage to tolerate some degree of energy and function disruption when faced with strenuous activities, severe toxicity usually causes a prolonged negative reaction within the body system that could sometimes be defined as catastrophic. Salicylate poisoning does not usually end up in the death of the person who ingested too much aspirin, symptoms of the poisoning can usually be seen within three to six hours of ingestion.
The body systems that normally react adversely to the over dosage are the central nervous system, lungs, gastrointestinal and kidney systems. However, in cases of severe toxicity, a patient can display agitation, disorientation, lethargy accompanied by seizures which eventually lead to coma and death. Suspicions of salicylate poisoning is not easily confirmed though. A Done nomogram is usually used in order to gauge the degree of toxicity. However, this type of examination has been judge to be inconclusive and therefore invalid in cases of chronic toxicity.
However, high levels of salicylates within the bloodstream usually proves to be the most accurate form of testing for the overdose. Such results are usually accompanied by abnormal test results in the areas of blood acidity, carbon dioxide and blood pressure levels being low, and sometimes, mild to moderate kidney failure can also be noted. If diagnosed early on within the overdosing, salicylate toxicity can still be treated and reversed. It need not be fatal in most cases. As in the case of any drug overdose, early detection is the key by which treatments should be based upon.
The services of a kidney doctor may be necessary in some instances where in the elevated blood salicylate level has already began to damage the kidney functions of the patient and hemodialysis becomes a necessary part of the cure. There are various treatments for salicylate poisoning but not one of the treatments can be considered to be the perfect antidote. That is why most doctors center their treatments on decontamination and removal of toxins, along with supportive therapies. In order to decontaminate the patients internal organs, it will be necessary to limit the absorption of anymore salicylates into the gastrointestinal tract.
Such an act is accomplished by flushing out the stomach contents and administering charcoal tablets with the intention of carrying away any other toxins left within the intestinal system. After the decontamination is accomplished, supportive therapy can take place. No, this is not the sort of therapy that requires the involvement of live persons. Instead, it involves the stabilizing of the body system and its accompanying blood abnormalities. The procedure may involve administering extra oxygen, adding glucose to the blood system, and then using an intravenous fluid cocktail composed of sodium, bicarbonate, and potassium.
When necessary, mechanical ventilation, together with blood pressure support and seizure medications may also be enacted in order to insure the thorough removal of the ingested toxins. Finally, the remaining salicylates can be flushed out through the kidneys via urination. The process involves raising the pH level of the patient’s urine in order to increase urine output. In situations that warrant it however, hemodialysis is suggested. It is important to note that although Pepto Bismol is made up of salicylates, it is not a common cause of death even during an overdose, unless the case is extreme.
It is most often advised that people on blood thinning medications such as aspirin or Coumadin avoid taking any medications that also have a degree of salicylates in it, the most common being Pepto-Bismol Bismuth. However, the emerging shift from aspirin to acetaminophen and ibuprofen has helped to lower and virtually eliminate salicylate poisoning among the adults and children.
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