Best Way to Drink Barium Sulfate Oral Suspension and Side Effects and What Does It Taste Like and What to Expect

Latest update: March 24, 2023. Page URL indicates original publication date; meanwhile, times change and the updates continue.

Many people inquire about what it is like to drink this stuff. Turns out that drinking barium sulfate is no big deal.
  • Just do exactly what the bottle and doc and/or technician says.
  • The taste is bland.
  • I experienced no side or after effects.

Barium Sulfate Oral Suspension for CT Scans

The doctor or medical service provider specifies a procedure requiring the drinking consumption of a barium sulfate solution up to 24 hours prior and just before the CT scan; yep, you'll usually need to drink it the day before the test and just prior to the test. In other words, they do have you drink several doses before the actual CT. It sounds like it is a big deal and a pain in the neck, but it isn't.

I immediately did the research on the .gov sites and elsewhere. I ended up with the impression that I was going to gag on the stuff. That information is false. It was bland and no big deal whatsoever. They'll even give you a choice as to flavor. I ended up with vanilla.

Again, the stuff was just plain bland and there were no problem(s). I hope this page helps mitigate all the false information out there. And I might add, the volume looks a lot larger than it is. A few medium sips did the trick for each dosage. No need to to do large swallows or such. Do shake the stuff before drinking as the bottle says. An even mixture gives the technician and doc what they need.

And again, concerning side effects before, during, and after; nothing out of the ordinary occurred. I wish all medical tests and procedures were this uneventful.

An Update. I have seen posts where people have complained about digestive problems when drinking barium sulfate. Just to be on the safe side, maybe drink that first dose when you know you will be home for the next several hours. Nothing should happen, but who knows what might happen if other medications or certain foods are involved? One would think the technician would warn a patient about such things, but that is not always the case. Based on my own experience, you will be fine; but might as well play it safe.

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  1. Yes, thats recommended to make it a teeny bit more palatable.

  2. Can i mix it with something to make it taste better

  3. Thankyou so much for this post. I have to drink this stuff on Monday for a test on Tuesday. I got banana flavor and they told me to chill it.

  4. Thank you so much for your encouraging article! I can’t tell you how upset I’ve been knowing I have to do this... maybe a few times over the next 4 months. I was convinced it was going to be a complete nightmare so I’m going to keep your words upfront in my mind for comfort and encouragement that I can do this now :)

  5. Thanks for the article. I'm drinking mine right now. I am extremely sensitive to stuff like this...had to take my glucose test during pregnancy 3 times before making it through without vomiting from the drink. So I was dreading the barium. For me, it's definitely not "no big deal" - it's not pleasant - but it is not as bad as it sounds or looks. It actually looks like a big glass of Elmer's glue. But I am able to take small sips without gagging too much and it's rather flavorless. Thick and gross, but not impossible.

  6. I'm so glad it doesn't bother you because here I sit upset with myself for vomitting the whole thing back up just now. I honestly have no idea what it is but I gag every single time even though it does not taste bad at all. I got banana smoothie flavor and I like it but somewhere at the bottom of my throat it triggers my gag reflex and it's not the viscosity either because it's like the consistency of a melted milkshake. I wish there was a way for me to stop the reflex entirely so I could get this done. 3 times I have failed now and it's embarrassing. But I am also the type of person who gags at everything and will throw up if someone else throws up. I hate it.

  7. Just finished my first dose of Redi-Cat 2 (Mochaccino), so far so good. Didn't taste bad at all, well tolerated so far! Second dose in four hours, CT in five. Hope the next one is as painless as the first!

  8. I'm having the test done at 11 can I drink one bottle tonight and

  9. Everywhere I looked online, people were complaining about how horrible the barium swallow liquid tastes. I was really dreading the test. What they gave me was slightly chilled, with a straw, not anywhere near thick. And it was tasteless, no problem at all!

  10. After reading all the terrible comments I was in a panic over drinking the Redi-cat 2. I had berry flavor. I almost cancelled the test but thought I'd try it before taking that drastic step. I was surprised that it wasn't that bad. I wouldn't say it's berry flavor, but it does smell like berries. I chilled it really well, shook the heck out of it and poured 1/4 bottle into a smaller glass then used a straw to drink it. Kept the rest cold. I was to drink it over an hour so I drank 1/4 within 15 minutes. I think those that chug it might get the bloated and sick feeling. I didn't have any of that or the runs some people seem to get. I have to drink another 1/2 bottle this morning before the scan. Like the little engine that could...."I think I can..." Hope this helps.


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