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barium sulfate (oral and rectal) (cont.)

What should I discuss with my health care provider before using barium sulfate?

You should not use barium sulfate if you are allergic to it. Tell your doctor if you have ever had an allergic reaction to a contrast agent.

To make sure you can safely use barium sulfate, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • asthma, eczema, or allergies;
  • a blockage in your stomach or intestines;
  • cystic fibrosis;
  • a colostomy;
  • rectal cancer;
  • heart disease or high blood pressure;
  • Hirschsprung's disease (a disorder of the intestines);
  • a condition called pseudotumor cerebri (high pressure inside the skull that may cause headaches, vision loss, or other symptoms);
  • a recent history of surgery on your esophagus, stomach, or intestines;
  • a history of perforation (a hole or tear) in your esophagus, stomach, or intestines;
  • if you have recently had a rectal biopsy;
  • if you have ever choked on food by accidentally inhaling it into your lungs;
  • if you are allergic to simethicone (Gas-X, Phazyme, and others); or
  • if you are allergic to latex rubber.

It is not known whether barium sulfate will harm an unborn baby, but the radiation used in x-rays and CT scans may be harmful. Before your medical test, tell your doctor if you are pregnant.

Barium sulfate may pass into breast milk and could harm a nursing baby. Before your medical test, tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I use barium sulfate?

Use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use it in larger amounts or for longer than recommended.

Barium sulfate comes in tablets, paste, cream, or liquid forms.

In some cases, barium sulfate is taken by mouth. The liquid form may also be used as a rectal enema.

You may need to begin using this medication at home a day before your medical test. Follow your doctor's instructions about how much of the medication to use and how often.

If you are receiving barium sulfate as a rectal enema, a healthcare professional will give you the medication at the clinic or hospital where your testing will take place.

Do not crush, chew, or break a barium sulfate tablet. Swallow the pill whole.

Dissolve the barium sulfate powder in a small amount of water. Stir this mixture and drink all of it right away. To make sure you get the entire dose, add a little more water to the same glass, swirl gently and drink right away.

If you receive the medication as a liquid to take by mouth, shake the liquid well just before you measure a dose. To be sure you get the correct dose, measure the liquid with a marked measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Carefully follow your doctor's instructions about what to eat or drink within the 24-hour period before your test.

Store at room temperature away from heat and moisture. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.

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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