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Barium Sulfate Oral tablet

What is this medicine?

BARIUM SULFATE (BA ree um SUL fate) is a contrast agent. It is used during an x-ray to determine the size of a stricture or abnormal narrowing in the esophagus.

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth. It is given by a health care professional in a hospital or clinic setting. Your health care professional will tell you how to prepare for your test. If you have not received instructions or if you do not understand them, check with your health care professional before the test.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue

  • bloating

  • breathing problems

  • chest tightness

  • nausea or vomiting

  • stomach or lower abdominal pain

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • constipation

  • cramping

  • diarrhea

What may interact with this medicine?

Interactions are not expected. You may or may not be able to take your regular medications during the time of preparation for your procedure. Ask your doctor or health care professional for advice.

What if I miss a dose?

If you cannot follow the steps to prepare for your test, tell your health care professional. The test may need to be re-scheduled.

Where should I keep my medicine?

This drug is given in a hospital or clinic and will not be stored at home.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • asthma

  • difficulty swallowing

  • eczema or a history of significant allergies

  • intestinal blockage or perforation

  • intestinal or stomach cancer

  • recent rectal biopsy

  • tracheoesophageal fistula

  • an unusual or allergic reaction to barium sulfate, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives

  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant

  • breast-feeding

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Follow all instructions from your health care professional to properly prepare for your test. Serious side effects of the test are rare, but report an unexplained fever, blood in the stool, or significant abdominal pain promptly.

After the test, drink plenty of water to help avoid constipation and to help flush the medicine out. You may have light or white stools for a few days after the test. Your stools will go back to normal color within a few days.

Online Medical Reviewer: Louise Akin, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith, RN, MSN, FNP, CCRC
Date Last Reviewed: 3/19/2009
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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