Barium Sulfate

Barium Sulfate oral suspension

What is Barium Sulfate oral suspension?
BARIUM SULFATE (many brands) is a radiopaque agent used to diagnose problems with the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. When barium is taken by mouth, it makes the upper areas of the GI tract, like the esophagus, the stomach, and/or the small intestine opaque or white so they can be photographed by x-rays. This test is commonly called an ‘Upper GI’ test. Usually several x-rays are taken to take pictures as the barium moves through the stomach and intestines. The barium procedure shows if anything is wrong inside the GI tract and how well it is working. Generic barium sulfate oral suspensions are available.

What should my health care professional know before I receive Barium Sulfate?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • asthma
  • dehydration
  • difficulty swallowing
  • eczema or a history of significant allergies
  • intestinal blockage or perforation
  • intestinal or stomach cancer
  • an unusual reaction to Barium Sulfate, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should this medicine be used?
Barium sulfate oral suspension is taken by mouth (swallowed). 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. You will not be able to eat for a certain period of time before the barium test. For some tests, you may not be able to eat after your evening meal or after a certain time in the evening. You may be allowed to drink small amounts of clear liquids until midnight. Some tests may require you to take a laxative and/or an enema.

Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?
If you cannot follow the steps to prepare for your test, you must tell your health care professional. The test may need to be re-scheduled.

What drug(s) may interact with Barium Sulfate?

  • No drug interactions have been documented between barium sulfate and other medications. However, you may or may not be able to take your regular medications during the time of preparation for your procedure. Ask your health care professional.

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.


What side effects may I notice from receiving Barium Sulfate?
Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • bloating
  • constipation (severe or continuing)
  • cramping (severe)
  • nausea or vomiting
  • stomach or lower abdominal pain
  • tightness in chest or troubled breathing
  • wheezing

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

  • constipation
  • cramping
  • diarrhea

What should I watch for while taking Barium Sulfate?
Follow all instructions of 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 barium out. You may have light or white stools for a few days after the test; do not be concerned. Your stools will go back to normal color within a few days.

Where can I keep my medicine?
This usually does not apply; you will be given barium during the procedure.

Keep out of reach of children. Store at controlled room temperature between 15-30 degrees C (59-86 degrees F). Keep container tightly closed. Do not freeze. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 16.02.
Revision date: July 5, 2011
Last revised: by Amalia K. Gagarina, M.S., R.D.

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