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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Helidac

Generic Name: bismuth subsalicylate, metronidazole, and tetracycline (Pronunciation: BIZ muth sub sa LISS i late, MET roe NYE da zole, and tet ra SYE kleen)

What is bismuth subsalicylate, metronidazole, and tetracycline (Helidac)?

Bismuth subsalicylate is a mild antibiotic.

Metronidazole and tetracycline are also antibiotics that fight bacteria in your body.

The combination of bismuth subsalicylate, metronidazole, and tetracycline is used to treat Helicobacter pylori, a bacterial infection that can cause stomach ulcer.

Bismuth subsalicylate, metronidazole, and tetracycline may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of bismuth subsalicylate, metronidazole, and tetracycline (Helidac)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • a severe headache;
  • vision changes;
  • confusion;
  • nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating;
  • severe diarrhea; or
  • seizure (convulsions).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea;
  • metallic taste in your mouth;
  • numbness or tingling;
  • dizziness, loss of coordination;
  • swollen tongue, black or "hairy" tongue, trouble swallowing;
  • vaginal itching or discharge;

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about bismuth subsalicylate, metronidazole, and tetracycline (Helidac)?

Take this medication for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. The antibiotics in this medication will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu.

Bismuth subsalicylate, metronidazole, and tetracycline is not approved for use by children. Children younger than 8 years of age should not use tetracycline because of its unfavorable effects on tooth and bone formation.

Avoid taking dairy products, multivitamins, iron supplements, antacids, and laxatives within 2 hours of taking tetracycline. These products decrease the effectiveness of tetracycline.

This medication can make birth control pills less effective. Ask your doctor about using a non-hormone method of birth control (such as a condom, diaphragm, spermicide) to prevent pregnancy while taking bismuth subsalicylate, metronidazole, and tetracycline.

Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. This medication can make you sunburn more easily. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.

Avoid alcohol while you are taking this medication and for 1 day after your treatment ends. Alcohol can increase certain unpleasant side effects of metronidazole. Check the label of any medicine, drink, or food to see if a contains alcohol.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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