Site of bismuth absorption from bismuth subsalicylate: Implications for treatment of colonic conditions

F. L. Suarez, J. Furne, J. Stiehm, C. Garten, M. D. Levitt

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9 Scopus citations


Poorly absorbed bismuth preparations may benefit a variety of chronic colonic conditions including ulcerative colitis. Bismuth-induced neurotoxicity is a potential complication of the chronic use of these preparations, and a less-absorbable form of bismuth is needed. If bismuth absorption occurs primarily in the upper gut, a delayed-release bismuth preparation could reduce absorption. We studied the site of bismuth absorption from bismuth subsalicylate (BSS) in rats. For 15 days, BSS (50 mg/day) was ingested or infused directly into the cecum via a chronically implanted cannula. Oral BSS resulted in serum and urine bismuth levels many times higher (3.5 ± 0.3 μg/liter and 1570 ± 286 ±g/g creatinine, respectively) than with cecal administration (undetectable (<1.5 μg/liter) and 75 ± 25 μg/g creatinine). Thus, bismuth absorption from BSS occurred almost entirely in the upper gut. These findings provide a rationale for a similar study of delayed-release bismuth preparations in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1444-1446
Number of pages3
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper was supported in part by general medical research funds from the Department of Veterans Affairs and a grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (RO1-DK-13093).

Copyright 2007 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Animals
  • Bismuth absorption
  • Colon
  • Upper gastrointestinal tract


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