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

Tell the patient that black stools are normal

Explanation

•Bismuth subsalicylate can cause black stools and black tongue. This is an expected side effect and is harmless.

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

•Notifying the physician is not necessary as this is an expected finding.

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