Pepto Bismol vs. Imodium vs. Kaopectate

  • By reComparison Contributor
  • comments 11
  • views54896

Difference between Pepto Bismol, Imodium and Kaopectate

Heartburn is a painful and bothersome condition that is oftentimes the result of a more serious underlying problem. Thankfully most cases are only temporary, and they frequently respond well to over-the-counter medications such as Pepto Bismol, Imodium or Kaopectate. If you have ever wondered what the differences between these three medications are, you have come to the right place!

Pepto Bismol


Pepto Bismol is sold under the generic name bismuth subsalicylate, and it is commonly prescribed for the relief of diarrhea, stomach upset, heartburn, stomach acidity, and nausea.

Imodium, also known by its generic name of loperamide, is commonly used in the treatment of diarrhea.

Kaopectate for its part is sold under the generic name of docusate, and its primary function is as a stool softener. It is often used to treat the symptoms of constipation and pain caused by hard or dry stools.


Care should be taken when taking Pepto Bismol with a large variety of medications, including methotrexate, aspirin and other medications in this category, diabetes medication, gout medication, and medications used in the treatment and/or prevention of blood clots, such as warfarin.

Imodium should not be taken with alosetron under any circumstances. Care should also be taken when taking Imodium with quinidine, ritonavir, and saquinavir.

As for Kaopectate, the medication has been known to react unfavorably with mineral oil, so care should be taken when combining both.


Pepto Bismol has a number of side effects associated with it, all of which require consultation with a doctor as soon as possible. Among the possible side effects of Pepto Bismol are anxiety, dizziness, sleepiness, headaches, sweating, unusual thirst, ringing in the ears, weakness, nausea, fatigue, and tremors. Pepto Bismol may also cause dark colored stools and a blackened tongue.

Imodium can also cause dark and even bloody stools, and it may also cause a number of other symptoms besides, such as food poisoning, colitis, fever, liver disease, and abdominal pain. Care should be taken by women who take Imodium while pregnant and those who are breastfeeding.

Kaopectate may cause nausea, constipation, stomach pain, and a change in bowel habits that lasts for 2 weeks or more. Kaopectate should also be taken with care by pregnant or breastfeeding women, as well as those who are trying to conceive a child.


Pepto Bismol

  • Sold under the generic name bismuth subsalicylate
  • Commonly prescribed for the relief of diarrhea, stomach upset, heartburn, stomach acidity, and nausea


  • Also known by its generic name of loperamide
  • Commonly used in the treatment of diarrhea


  • Sold under the generic name of docusate
  • Primary function is as a stool softener
  • Often used to treat the symptoms of constipation and pain caused by hard or dry stools

Pepto Bismol Commercial

Imodium Commercial

Kaopectate Commercial

Which formula works fastest?
  • Pepto Bismol
  • Imodium
  • Kaopectate

Discuss It: comments 11

  • Guest
  • Alison winning wrote on November 2010

Awesome piece of information. Although, being a registered nurse I forgot the differences between the two and am sick to death with nausea didn't know which one I should tell my friend to get who was at the pharmacy! Thanks for a great posting.

  • Guest
  • Susan Norman wrote on November 2011

As far as I have always known, Kaopectate is for diarrhea, not constipation.

( as per Wikipedia-Kaopectate, known medically as bismuth subsalicylate, is an orally taken medication from Chattem, Inc. for the treatment of mild diarrhea. It is also sometimes used to treat indigestion, nausea and stomach ulcers. In the U.S., kaopectate is now equivalent to a tableted form of Pepto-Bismol, and is no longer made from kaolinite and pectin)

This article should be removed as the information is wrong about Kaopectate. It's "recipe" has been changed.

this article is wrong, pharmacist here.

i thought kaopectate was for diarrha not a stool softner?

this article is wrong. kaopectate is for diarrhea and works faster than imodium. docusate is the generic for colace (stool softener).

  • Guest
  • ed murillo wrote on February 2013

The label on the KAOPECTATE container i bought today, clearly states that it is an Anti- Diarrheal, to help relief diarrhea. NOT A STOOL SOFTENER.

How old is this article? I fully agree with everyone here. I was deciding between Pepto and Kao then I realized both had the same active ingredient. Why did the makers of Kaopectate change their recipe? Both are the same; just buy the cheaper of the two

  • Guest
  • Keith Settle wrote on April 2015

Why hasn't this misinformation with Kaopectate been revised" My daughter is needing anti diarrheal help and has been taking Kaopectate for the last 2 days. My heart skipped a beat after reading in your article that "Kaopectate ... Is a stool softener" and its "generic name is docusate." Please revise or remove this information immediately, as it is erroneous.

  • Guest
  • Susan wrote on August 2016

Why is this article still out here and available for public consumption on the web when it contains false and misleading information? It is now August of 2016 and the first person to point out the glaring mistake was back in November of 2011. The bad misinformation contained in this article could clearly cause injury up to including death if it is read by someone seeking help for a problem and follows what is read here. Remove or correct this information at once.

  • Guest
  • SDR wrote on January 2018

Kaopectate info below is incorrect and should be corrected or removed as this misinformation could cause harm.

•Primary function is as a stool softener

•Often used to treat the symptoms of constipation and pain caused by hard or dry stools

Post a Comment
  • Name*
  • Email*
  • Website (optional)
  • arrow You are commenting as a Guest
  • arrow Your email will not be public
  • arrow Login or Sign Up and post using your reComparison account
  • arrow Facebook Connect