A patient has been taking bismuth subsalicylate for the treatment of acute diarrhea. The patient tells the nurse he is concerned about his stool being black and the possibility of a GI bleed. What should the nurse do?

Assure the patient that this is a normal side effect of this medication.


•Bismuth subsalicylate can cause black stools and black tongue. This is an expected adverse reaction and it is harmless.

•Bismuth subsalicylate has an antisecretory effect on the digestive system, making it effective against diarrhea.

•Incorrect: Notifying the physician and getting a stool sample is not necessary as this is an expected finding.

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