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Stopping Heartburn Medicines Pose Challenge

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Messing with Mother Nature sometimes leads to unintended consequences. This is especially true when it comes to your body.

Drug companies are quite adept at developing medications that make us feel better. They often have a harder time dealing with the fallout of their efforts.

Take decongestant nose drops, for example. Anyone with a stuffy nose will tell you it is a very uncomfortable feeling. Congestion can be brought on by a cold, allergies or a sinus infection.

Pharmacies sell lots of nasal sprays like Afrin (oxymetazoline) and Neo-Synephrine 4-Hour (phenylephrine). Such drugs are effective because they constrict blood vessels in the nose. Used for a couple of days, they can relieve symptoms with relatively few side effects.

But if you use a nasal decongestant spray for more than a few days, your body begins to compensate. The tiny blood vessels in the lining of the nasal passages try extra hard to bring blood to the tissues that have been deprived. As the medication wears off, the blood vessels dilate and cause rebound nasal congestion.

This can lead to a vicious cycle. We have heard from readers who were so dependent on their Afrin nasal spray that they kept containers under their pillow, in the car and on their desk at work. They may keep on using the spray long after the cold or allergy is gone, sometimes even for years.

The same thing can be true for acid-suppressing drugs. Medications such as Aciphex, Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec and Protonix are best sellers in the pharmacy. They are known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). These drugs are very helpful for healing ulcers and can also ease symptoms of serious heartburn (acid reflux).

The body, however, seems to think that acid in the stomach is a good idea. Just as the blood vessels in your nose dilate after repeated use of a vasoconstrictor, so too the cells in your stomach lining work extra hard to make acid when repeatedly exposed to one of these powerful medications.

If a PPI is discontinued abruptly, acid-making cells go into overdrive, sometimes for weeks or months. Rebound acid production is a lot like rebound congestion. The resulting discomfort makes it hard not to start using the medication again.

One reader wrote: “I have been taking Protonix for heartburn for about six months. After learning of potential ill effects from long-term use (weak bones or pneumonia), I tried to stop taking it. After about a week, I had to start taking it again due to severe heartburn--the rebound effect, I suppose. I asked my pharmacist how one should discontinue use, but she was unable to find out.”

There is very little information about how to stop taking PPIs. Some doctors suggest gradual dose tapering and using weaker drugs such as Tagamet, Pepcid or Zantac during the transition.

A leading expert on natural medicines, Tierenoa Low Dog, MD, has had success helping patients with this problem by using a natural licorice compound called DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice). You can listen to Dr. Low Dog discussing the issue at

Before you start taking medicine, find out how and when to stop. Sometimes getting off a drug can be harder than you expect.

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I hope I will soon have a personal experience to share. I have decided to discontinue omeprazole on my own. I listened in to Dr. Low Dog's discussion regarding the DGL, and fortunately I did have a bottle on hand, expiration date June 2008. I had bought this, among others, at a health food store as I was proceeding to take charge of my health as I was not getting anywhere with MDs when I signed up for an HMO, wanting to be a "good compliant patient." First, was put on one statin, then another, then another with disastrous results, now blood pressure med, whatever they were pushing that month at the local clinic. I simply refuse to put up with the side effects they produced... I am back in charge of my body now.... I am doing a complete cleanse to get the residue out of my system, supposed to be a 2-week program, then I am going to slowly try to taper down the omeprazole by any means I can find. If it doesn't work, oh well, but wish me luck, I'll keep you posted. Retta AKA Alma Brewer

I use pure unfiltered raw cider vinegar for heartburn (1 tbsp). Does anybody else use this NATURAL remedy?

In advance---THANK YOU for your time.

Steve Creaturo

I got off Nexium by taking a product by Enzymatic Therapy called Heartburn No More. Cost $30.They are citrus oil capsules. You take one every other day until the package is gone. I think there are 10 capsules in the package. Since then I have taken an occasional one when I needed it. This along with DGL worked perfectly for me. When I stopped the Nexium I had such bad acid reflux that my ears were burning. It was awful... but this stuff really worked.

Jane...That's great to find out, as a matter of fact I am right now on Enzymatic Complete Liver Cleanse to detox myself from all this med I allowed inappropriately into my body. I recently had an unpleasant side-effect experience with an antibiotic prescribed after slight dermatology surgery. After 10-12 days of not feeling well, I turned to a very knowledgeable nutritionist who manages my fav vitamin store and she advised this product. That's good to know about the heartburn product, I shall pick up some soon when I start to withdraw from omeprazole!! Good Deal.....Retta B AKA Alma Brewer

I am experiencing hair loss as a result of long-term Prevacid usage. At one point, I even had nerve pain until I began taking B12 supplements to compensate for inadequate B12 absorption because of the Prevacid. I finally decided I was coming off it one way or the other and started searching the web. This site has been helpful:

The theory sounds reasonable. I've had no Prevacid for 4 days, only the vinegar & soda dosage before each meal (2 T vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon soda and a little water), and am doing well. I've had occasional slight indigestion which has been relieved by sucking on hard candy to increase salivation. And a "side effect" of the vinegar may just be some arthritis relief! My only concern is increased sodium intake because of the soda, but hope to decrease dosages soon.

I used to take a lot of Zantac--prescription and OTC--for my acid reflux. I would wake in the middle of the night--sometimes unable to breathe because the acid had closed my windpipe! I started taking probiotics regularly, and they have completely cured my acid reflux. Occassionally, if I overdo the wine, fatty food and sugar I'll need to take a Zantac again. I have been acid free for years.

I decided to get off Prilosec because of the things I'd heard about when it was used for long periods of time, and the fact that my fingernails were falling apart.

First, I tapered down, then went off it entirely. The 'blowback' period lasted about six weeks, during which I treated it with "Heartburn No More", antacids and DGL. I also supplemented Vitamin B-12 to get my fingernails back in shape.

It was not pleasant, and more than a few times I was tempted to get back on the Prilosec. But the burn finally faded, and today, I have few heartburn problems, and only experience them if I eat doughy sweets or drink soda. (I can eat spicy foods without problem.) Tums does the trick when I feel any fire.

I was put on PPI's after a gallbladder attack. The doctor used the PPI's to rule out an ulcer, as symptoms for both conditions can be similar.

I started experiencing severe heartburn within weeks. I was told to increase the dosage to two a day which only increased the problem. It all happened so quickly I really had no way to identify the med as the culprit since I also had gallbladder surgery and within months stones in my bile duct.

I found myself after visits to several GI specialists on these PPI's at a double dose for four years. When you look back you wonder how you could have been so naive as to ingest this poison daily for years. It has been 3 years since I started detoxing. I actually started out using large doses of H2 blockers. In April, I was still taking one a day. I have discontinued that and am now using Mylanta.

This has been a dreadful ordeal. I haven't slept through the night since I started with the PPI's because of reflux, stomach cramps, and stomach pain. I have actually been unable to work and lead a normal life. I tried the DGL but was even sensitive to that. My hypothesis (guess) is that you can expect that for every month you are on the medicine you can expect a month for recovery.

Several years ago I started with Prilosec. When that stopped working I went on to Nexium for an extended period. I have since graduated to Prevacid and have been using it for more than six months. These comments that I just read and printed for future reference are eye opening to say the least. I wish to thank all your contributors for their comments and solutions offered for reducing the usage of PPI's.

I took Nexium for 2 months as the doctor prescribed, but knew I did not want to continue beyond that as I believed the acid suppression would cause other problems, i.e. decreased Vitamin B absorption. I started weaning myself off the Nexium with OTC acid reducers initially, along with watching my diet and increased exercise. I then started using Prelief, which I continue to use sporadically as needed.

About nasal spray. I find if I only do one nostril one day and the other the next day I do not have an addiction problem. About acid reflux. I take one Zantac after my biggest meal of the day on a daily basis. My problem solved.

Try apple cider vinegar for acid relux. It has worked for my husband and me.

Older people sometimes do not have enough acid. It also helps to kill the bad bacteria h pylori.

One to two TBLS mixed with some water, You may add honey to the mix, or buy the cider vinegar tablets.

Worth a try!

I took Aciphex or its generic Rabeprazole for 11 months in 2007. I experienced tachycardia episodes which grew more frequent and lasted longer as the year passed. At the end of August I was diagnosed with atrial flutter.

In early January 2008 I went off the Rabeprazole cold-turkey and used Tums to treat the reflux -- 6-12 g/d. Although I still had tachycardia episodes, their duration decreased from 4-60 hours when on the PPI to under 2 hours. In addition I felt a lot better.

At no time during 2007 or even now has any of my physicians (including specialists whom I've seen) indicated any recognition that the PPI could have been responsible for any of the conditions -- even though the manufacturer itself lists tachycardia and atrial flutter as possible side effects of taking the drug!

During the last several years I've tried a number of treatments for acid reflux including many mentioned on this site and none has worked. The ones I've tried include raw apple cider vinegar, deglycyrrhizinated licorice, aloe vera juice and capsules, and digestive aids.

I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has had heart effects connected with the use of PPIs especially if these conditions vanished when the PPI was discontinued. And, if that did happen, how long did it take?

I was diagnosed with 7 ulcers of the duodenum in 2000. I was put on Prevacid. Soon, insurance preferred Prilosec, so my Rx was changes to that. I had abdominal pain with it, so when Nexium came out I was eager to try that. It seemed to work better.

My problem now is that I am constantly overly-salivating. Sometimes I suck on a Gaviscon just to absorb saliva. I mentioned this to my doctor and was told to take DOUBLE the Nexium. I now take 2 tablets, 40mg each, everyday.

I saw someone mentioned hair loss. I had a hair transplant a few years ago and was put on Propecia. My hair was coming back great. Suddenly, the Propecia stopped working and my hair is thinning again (not the transplanted hair, other areas).

Have you ever heard of this? I am doubting that my doctor will be able/willing to help, honestly, because I even mentioned that my quality of life is suffering, and all he did was double the Rx!

I was bulimic in college and really screwed up my digestive system for a bit. My doctor put me on Prilosec to allow my esophagus to heal. I have been on it for 6 years because the acid pain is awful when I stop. Currently, I am on day 4 of no Prilosec, and I can't even drink water without feeling like there's a lump of cayenne pepper in my throat. I know it's because I've been on these acid pump suppressing meds for so long, and now my pumps are over-compensating, but damn. If you can avoid using these medications long-term, please do so; they're horrible to discontinue.

I found first, that Prilosec and Nexium are really meant for short term use (1-2 week). Why? Read their side effects - NOT good. I found that apple cider vinegar is really effective at cleaning the stomach and getting it going. When I started, I also got some light burning in the esophagus as the vinegar went down. I believe these are from the vinegar cleaning out some lesions from the acid reflux - so really a good thing. ( This started when I had been to emergency room for heart pain which was diagnosed as acid reflux).

After a few weeks, those burns were gone - after about 4 months, I didn't need the apple cider. I eat my food much more thoroughly, don't eat much meat. Some foods like bread and chocolate can cause short little heartburn episodes and should be eaten in very small amounts (at one time ;-) ). Don't eat late at night before lying down.

I have had friends with similar problems (thinking having a heart attack, finding out it was really acid reflux) and then use the vinegar with great results. If your problem goes undiagnosed for years, you can lose the valve between stomach and esophagus and this won't work. I have a friend who was on Prilosec for years and now has major valve damage. This is really a serious issue and this solution works... good luck!

I had my gallbladder removed 3 weeks ago along with ERCP to remove stone in common duct. I have had terrible heartburn ever since - dr. started me with Pepcid (which stopped working after a week), now taking 2 Prilosec a day along with sucralfate - STILL have heartburn. I don't even know if the medicine is making it better (maybe slight??)! Anyone have similar experience?

I have quit taking omeprazole (prilosec) after researching the meds due to abdominal pain I was having. I've been off prilosec for 2 weeks now. I started taking Dr. Ohhira's, Essential Formulas Inc., Probiotics (been taking for 3 weeks)& I am amazed. I still have a little bit of heartburn but I just chew a pill instead of swallowing it & the heartburn is gone.

I stopped Zegerid three days ago after being on it, with Dr's approval, for five weeks. Had started to feel mild nausea; now the nausea is gone, but have burning in the stomach. I took some Maalox (aluminum and magnesium) and got a laxative effect. So am taking Rollaids and worrying about cancer. I've lost 9 pounds in 16 days, but some of that was probably the laxative. I had stopped eating fat and sweets, but increased my bread intake, which may not be good. I'm hoping it will calm down and am scheduled to see a GI specialist.

Ive been on prilosec for 12 years and I feel terrible. I know this drug is killing me but coming off the drug is so painful. Tried almost every method of weening off and have failed. But i will keep trying until i hit the right combo of natural remedies. My only advise is DO NOT TAKE this medicine long term.

I was on prilosec for 8 months and it has caused me more grief than anything.

My nails became weaker my stomach was just out of whack.
Causing me to feel like everything is gonna come up and burping feeling.

Well I've been off of it 6 days now, no heart burn but my stomach has been really messed up and a lot of burning and nausea in my stomach.

The first 3 days so far was the roughest but I still feel like I need more time to get it out of my system.

If I would have known what it would have caused, there's no way I would of taken it.

I eat nothing good any more not because of heart burn but what the prilosec did to my stomach.

Please people try other things or lose weight like I'm trying to do now.This medicine was just a bad decision on my Doc's part and has made me lose some faith in my doctors.

I have been taking Nexium since 2004. I had anti-reflux surgery in 2006. No success. Started experiencing Heart PVC's for which I attribute to the PPI's. It seem impossible to stop taking as the discomfort is horrible. Any suggestions?

I took 15mg of Prevacid for a year... my health slowly deteriorated the whole year and nobody could tell me why. Went to a cardiac specialist, MRI, MRA no one mentioned the possible connection to Prevacid, even though it was a low dose I am thoroughly convinced it was the cause.

After 9 months on it I was anemic for the first time in my life and was developing many nerve problems. My doctor recommended only that I see a psychiatrist. No history of anxiety etc... after developing allergies of the year, 4 episodes of bronchitis and also catching pneumonia and influenza at the same time, I finally put it all together.

I have been off the prevacid cold turkey for a week now and feel better than I have ever felt in a year. Energy is back. I am supplementing with iron and vitamins and feel my heath starting to restore. In my opinion PPI's have real serious damage potential in usage over 8 weeks. Don't do it. You are risking a lot unless you have a problem that 500% outweighs the risks.

My husband been on omeprazole for 7/8 years. He now has anemia and low blood platelets. He was in the ER three weeks ago and had to get blood transfusions. He is weak and he feels like he is dying. The hemotologist wants to do a bone marrow biopsy and PET/scan. My husband feels the later is unsafe. My husband's blood problems might be due to a B-12 defiency caused by this medicine.

The GI doctor gave him the scoping tests and for the most part it is OK. I asked his if the omeprazole is responsible for my husband's blood problems. The GI doctor said this is a safe drug and his patients have taken this for years. I find conflicting information from other doctors when researching on the web. In my opinion, I think the drug companies try to hook you into dependency with these proton pump medications.

It is very hard to get off this medication, but with the Lord's help, my husband will get off this drug and his health will be restored in answer to prayer. I thank God in the name of Jesus Christ leading me to read about the information out there about the side effects of these proton pumps medications and the on going healing of my husband.

I read the different posts this morning and decided to try your recipe of 2 T. cider vinegar and 1/4 t. baking soda. That was posted in 2007, some time ago. I am interested in knowing how successful you were. I, too, have been on different ppi's for about 12 years since I had my gallbladder out. Most recently they have stopped working. Over the past 5 months, my Dr. has tried several different ones. I used Prevacid mostly over the years. Since they are not working anymore and I feel sickly with no cause showing from the endoscopy, I have decided to try to quit them.

Immediate the sickly feeling has left----but other feelings have taken their place. Better than sickly though. Did you continue with the vinegar, soda solution for years or have you totally stopped or replaced it with something else? I would love to know how you progressed.

How is your husband doing now? I pray he is getting better. I've taken Prilosec for years and tried to get off but the acid comes back ten times worse than before. Hard to get off of it. I'm searching and trying to find a way off. Lord help us all who have been on this medicine to get off and find a natural solution. Better yet, Lord heal us from this horrible medicine and effects it's had on us. Let me know how your husband is doing since you last posted.

God bless.

GB in OK

To GB in OK

Thank you for praying for my husband. Things still are unfolding and soon I hope I will be able to update, I have much to say. I appreciate your prayers for my husband, because he is not out of the woods yet. Lord willing this trial will be over soon and there is victory in Jesus.

GB let us know when you find that success in getting off the PPI'S.

Blessing and peace,


I have taken omeprazole/prilosec for 4 years. I now have C-Diff. I was hospitalized a few months ago with severe stomach pain and constipation. Diagnosis diverticulitis. Colonoscopy a few months earlier, a few polyps removed and diverticulosis. I was first given this drug when I had a very strange attack and could actually see what I think was my liver doing a roller coaster ride--could watch the rolling motion. Great pain.

I now think I had serotonin toxicity from combination of singulair and an antidepressant. Life has not been the same since. I want off omeprezole. I do not have heartburn. Anyone else know if the apple cider vinegar-soda combination can help when it is not heartburn? Months after I first started taking this drug I was diagnosed with very early breast cancer. The side effects of the aromatase inhibitor drug I take are awful, but studies are pretty darn impressive when it comes to minimizing recurrence of cancer for five years. Have a very good m.d. who will work with me on nutrition but sure wish I could find a straight answer to how to go off of this drug.

I have been off Nexium for 5 days now and have started to have heartburn. I will try the vinegar and the Heartburn No More and let you know. I am not eating dairy or wheat. I am determined to get off once and for all. I am chewing Pepsid Complete about an hour after a meal and it helps. I want to get off all antacids.

Saw your comment about getting off Antacids. When you say "probiotics" what do you mean?

I have tried the natural remedies and found that the best approach for me was completely psychological... equating the heartburn symptoms with what was bugging me at the time. Doing that and simply slowing down, reducing stress, getting plenty of exercise and good food. I think folks have a flare up when under stress and then the medicines make them worse over time, for something that could be dealt with without long term use of drugs.

Just took myself off aciphex after about 5 years. Actually as timing would have it, I also lost my medical coverage and could not afford it anyway. My finger nails have been peeling badly for years also. I became very upset about this so I looked into the side effects of aciphex use and found that taking it inhibits our bodies ability to absorb certain B vitamins.

I now take Pepcid and an antacid when necessary to get through this and hopefully in time this will work. The cause of my heartburn is a hiatal hernia. Anyway my nails are improving. My hair also has been pretty bad in last few years. Maybe the long term use of aciphex also affected my hair? Time will tell. I keep searching for answers. Seek truth always.

I have been on Prilosec for 12 yrs now, since going away to college, twice daily for 8 yrs and still had 2 wk episodes of pain a few times a year. I turns out a simple ultrasound could have diagnosed the real culprit, gallstones. I just had my gallbladder removed 5 days ago and it was very inflamed and full of stones. It makes me so angry that instead of assuming stress and taking the latest medicines, I could have been treated and fixed 12 yrs ago. Both my home PCP and the school's health clinic failed me on this one. I am now starting to wean off of the prilosec. I plan to do it slowly.

I am trying to wean off of prescription Prilosec after 3 months of taking it. Originally I was on it 2x's a day to treat severe nighttime heartburn, but also had Diverticulitis attacks 2x's during this period. (Confirmed with colonoscopy) I have also suspected a weak gallbladder, but HIDA scan results seem ok for now.

The Endoscopy I recently had revealed nothing but an irritated stomach. I feel like my health has been a mess for 6 months b/c of all of this, and want off of this med. It apparently fixed the severe night heartburn, but now I feel like it is causing continued heartburn. I went down to 1x per day a month ago, then a few days ago started every other day. I just punted and decided to go cold turkey and now on day 2. I am okay, but still have some issues. I drink ginger ale and it helps, oddly enough. I may try the cider vinegar if this continues, but I never want to take this stuff again.

I recommend to anyone, get off of it as fast as you can. I have never been this sick in my life and my quality of life has been horrible since this all started. Some of that can be attributed to the Diverticulitis, but I am managing that condition with diet and hopefully will not cause issues again. My prayers are with those of you who are struggling too.

Hi, You all bad mouth Omeprasole so much. It was a life saver for me and healed my esophageal erosions. However, I am now weaning myself from this healing drug by taking a smaller amount each day (1/4 pill now) along with a great probiotic and following the great taste no pain diet. I also take PH buffer when I eat an acid producing meal. But, it is a shame that people are all black and white.

Thank God for prilosec and its generics, for it stopped my horrible pain. Now, however, that the erosions are healed, I am weaning off and eating appropriately. SO, don't scare people off who need this drug initially. Diane L.

I was put on a PPI for about 6 weeks when I was being tested for possible gall bladder problems. I first took Nexium and then Dexilant. (samples) When I tried to stop, I experienced much more severe acid reflux so I went back to the Dexliant. I was about to purchase it when my insurance company would not authorize Dexilant-wanted me to take Nexium.

Now I am glad. I talked to a pharmacist friend-who is about to have her PHD. She said if it were her that she would try Pepsid or Pepsid Complete-we decided on Pepsid Complete. She told me to give it a little time to see if it would work for me. I have just begun but it is working pretty well. I am having a little break through reflux but have read that I can take something like Mylanta-spacing it several hours before taking the Pepsid again. Mylanta or a drug like that can make the Pepsid less effective.

I am most upset that I was ever put on the PPI before trying something with fewer side effects. My reflux is so much worse after having taken the PPI, and by the way, even though my tests showed no gall bladder problem and the side pain stopped, the Gastro dr said he still could not totally rule out the gall bladder as the culprit. DO NOT TAKE A PPI WITHOUT FIRST TRYING SOMETHING WITH FEWER SIDE EFFECTS!!! I am convinced that most doctors do not have a clue about the damage the PPI's can do. Granted some people HAVE to be on a PPI. Do your research and then go to a really a good pharmacist for the scoop on the drug, its side effects, etc. DO NOT LET A PPI BE YOUR FIRST DRUG TO TRY!!!!

I had horrible stomach pain which was finally diagnosed as an ulcer and was put on Prilosec to stop the pain. It took the pain away, but when I was supposed to wean off of it, the rebound effect was so painful I passed out and hit my nose on a piece of furniture.

Some things that have worked for me and it's almost two weeks with no stomach pain and no prilosec was taking a probiotic and a digestive enzyme supplement (containing Lipase;Amylase;Cellulas;and Vegetal Analog Pancreatin, and Lactase), as well as DGL Licorice, Mastic Gum, Aloe Vera Juice and Cabbage Juice. The true and instant relief came when I incorporated the probiotic and the digestive enzyme (take an enzyme supplement before each meal) My stomach has given me no trouble and it's almost been two weeks, thanks be to God!

I also heard that if you have severe ulcers you probably need to check with your doctor first. Mine was situational and my heart goes out to anyone who has chronic ulcers, but the aloe vera and cabbage juice have amazing healing properties.

Day 7 of prilosec withdrawal--this is my fourth or fifth quit attempt after years of use--and this is the longest I've gone to date. I am determined to make it this time! Don't I sound like a tobacco addict? I've been munching licorice, probiotics, easing up on foods that hurt, and so far have had only one bad day. I'll tell you what else has happened--the gas and bloating have noticeably decreased, and get this: So has the stress incontinence!

I can't tell you how grateful I am for that last, and had no idea getting off prilosec would help! Anyone else with that issue? Now, if my hair will quit falling out...! Seriously, if I knew how many horrible effects this drug would have, I NEVER would have started it! Cider vinegar does work in emergencies, and that is what I'll stick with!

I have the same issue and am trying to get off as well. I tried the Cider Vinegar and it burns going down, so it just seems the opposite of what we are trying to accomplish. How is your quit attempt going? What do you take when you get up in the morning? I have tried the Cider Vinegar then and it really burns. Maybe it is better later in the day? Just wondered what schedule of taking these things has worked with you. What probiotic have you taken? There are so many out there. I really want to get off of this I have been on consistently for almost three years. It looks like you are doing well if you have gone seven days, that is huge!! Congrats for that.

I KNEW it! I had never heard of dependency on Prilosec. I was talking with a friend of mine this evening and I mentioned that it was funny that I only used to have acid a few times a year, but now (after several years of Prilosec), I can't go 2 days without it. Thanks to everyone on here for confirming my fears of dependency. Tomorrow I begin getting off this stuff. I feel like a heroin addict who lives in fear of the horrible effects of detoxing, because this is truly awful.

Glad I found this forum! My gastroenterologist found 2 ulcers (gastric and peptic) during an endoscopy, and put me on Prilosec for 6 weeks. Due to a miscommunication, I was just taking one Prilosec when he'd wanted me to take two. After being on just 1 Prilosec for a while, it seemed like I needed more, although initially, it seemed to work great. I found that when I bumped up to 2, the ulcer pain seemed to lessen, and my digestion improved.

After being on the 2 Prilosecs, it felt like I needed more. Yesterday, I stopped the Prilosec, and today I am in so much gut pain, it's incredible. I'm going back on it for a while, if only to wean. My naturopath was not happy to learn that the gastro put me on Prilosec in the first place, but she said that there are better treatments for ulcers than Prilosec. I do NOT have reflux, just ulcers and some other lower GI issues.

HI, I have been on Aciphex for around 8 years. I have now just been diagnosed with tachycardia. I am not happy. I have tried to get off this medicine for years, but can not. I agree it is helpful. I have permanent esophagus damage from acid. My valve is gone.

I am really out of options and must continue the medicine. ( Surgery was proposed 8 years ago, but the damage was so great; the #3 hospital in America for Gastro said NO). I wish I could get off, because I do believe it has caused my heart problems, along with severe dizziness that I have had for years. what I am trying to do is go a couple of days off then take if I really need.

SO far I can only go two days, before everything is on fire. If you can not take this medication then don't, but if you need it ( short Term) it is a life saver..... I am still going to read about all the remedies and maybe will try some. Thanks for the great info.... good luck...

WOW, I am so glad to find this site. I have been on Nexium for at least 15-20 years (probably started with Prilosec...I can't remember). My brother is on it too. I have tried a few times to go off but the pain put me back on fast.

I did not realize until recently that it was a rebound effect. So I was planning on stopping soon. I have had bouts of tachycardia and never thought it was from Nexium. I also have nail problems. I have 2 artificial knees, have had a torn rotator cuff and have a horrible back. I also had colitis for about 5-7 of those years.

I now realize a lot of this could have been caused by the Nexium. About 2 weeks ago I got horrible heartburn and realized I hadn't taken my Nexium for 2 days so I decided to go cold turkey. OUCH. I almost went back on but I was determined to get off this time no matter what.

I got some Zantac and that helped a little but not enough so I got some Pepsid and that is helping a little more but still I have a lot of pain. I am going to try some of the things that I read on here. I hope that it doesn't take too much longer. I can totally understand why people go back on. Thanks everyone for all the helpful hints. I will try them. Wish me luck.

I was diagnosed with hiatal hernia and was put on Prilosec. Bad side effects. Quit. Changed my diet to a "hiatal hernia" diet that I found on internet. Diet has really, really helped. However, I still had pain in upper stomach. Ruled out gallbladder. Went back on Prilosec for 14 days. Again, bad side effects. Look up Prilosec side effects, hundreds of people experience the same thing. I researched natural remedies and have discovered that drinking Chamomile tea with honey and a 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon, has about cured my stomach problems (along with continued diet.)

Look this up. Cinnamon is a digestive aid but don't take more than 2 TBLSP. a day. This has been a miracle for me. And stop eating tomato sauce, greasy foods, potatoes, no dairy, that means no cheese, no hamburger, no pizza, no junk food, no sweets, no soda, no coffee, limit alcohol to 2 drinks on weekends, no citrus fruits, and no creamy anything... I lost 15 pounds, and my body likes me again.

I'm wondering about the digestive enzyme that Rachel R mentioned--does anyone know the product name?

The ingredients in the supplement are: Lipase; Amylase; Cellulas; and Vegetal Analog Pancreatin, and Lactase), as well as DGL Licorice, Mastic Gum, Aloe Vera Juice and Cabbage Juice.

I have been on nexium for eight years and recently had a bone density scan.. I was diagnosed with significant osteoporosis in left hip and started to do some research. when you take nexium it reduces the acid in your stomach by 90 percent, perhaps leaving you unable to absorb calcium and other nutrients.

Doctor wanted to put me on Boniva, don't want to even talk about those side effects. Have been off nexium cold turkey for three weeks with the first two weeks being very tough. Have not done anything special except get through it day by day. I am going to try some of the remedies on this site and am learning that you must question all doctors and you must do your homework.

I have been on Omeprazole for about 6 years now (I was taking just one dose of 20mg per day) for GERD/heartburn. My husband and I are trying to get pregnant now, so I decided to go off the medicine cold turkey, in case it would be harmful to any future baby growing inside of me. The heartburn hasn't been too bad after the first couple days, but I've had nausea on and off for the past 3 weeks.

I know I'm not pregnant yet, so that's not the culprit. I'm starting to wonder if the stomach ache, headaches, and occasional dizziness has come from the Omeprazole withdrawals. Has anyone experienced nausea for weeks after stopping? I'm really trying to figure out what's going on and why I'm all of a sudden feeling so sick. I'm hoping it goes away soon on its own!!

Do any of the suggestions listed in the comments, such as, DGL Licorice and Mastic Gum, or the Cider Vinegar, interfere with Thyroid Medication or NSAIDS when being used for arthritis? Would appreciate any information anyone might have concerning. Thank You

I've been on either Prilosec OTC or Prevacid OTC since January 2006 for daily heartburn. Tums just weren't cutting it anymore so my GI told me to go on Prilosec, that using it long-term wouldn't hurt me. My insurance is awful and the OTC would cost me less than an Rx, so the doc told me to buy some at Costco, which I've been doing ever since.

He did an endoscopy in February 2006 and found no damage to my tissue, only a loose LES. At first I considered Prilosec my miracle drug but after a year of being on it, I started to develop symptomatic PVCs, with a holter showing as many as 48,000 in a 24 hour period!

I've had test after test and seen several different cardiologists and have tried different dosages of different blood pressure meds. Toprol XL (NOT the generic!) 50MG was working great for me for over a year, but it recently just stopped working. I'm still trudging along taking it every day, with no support from my primary, who doesn't want me to go on a higher dose because of my normal BP.

All along I've suspected the use of Prilosec to be the cause of my PVCs but I've always been terrified of the withdrawal and rebound. I'm determined to get off the PPI to see if my PVCs will stop. I'd like to slowly taper off, but since the Prilosec OTC is an caplet, you're not supposed to cut it in half or crush it. Has anyone ever done this with the OTC?

I've read that cutting it will render it ineffective because its enteric coating will be gone on the one side, but will this really make that much difference? I'm desperate to get off this stuff and I want to do it as gradually as possible.

Please let me know if you've ever cut Prilosec OTC and what the effects were. Thanks so much.

July 1st:
I've been taking omeprazole for 2 years now, (due to barrett's esophagus). I want to stop taking it. I have bloat, gas all the time and bowel movements changed so much. A lot of constipation, sometimes dizzy too, and I think my nails and hair have gotten damaged too and who knows about my bones. stomach gurgles all the time. Will my stomach eventually go back to normal if i stop taking this pill??!!!!

I was prescribed Prilosec and then later Nexium by my doctor due to what was determined to be acid reflux after my complaints and trips to both the ER for chest pains or my physician.

I was on some form of PPI daily dosage over the past 5 years with no real noted side effects I was aware of at that time.

Looking back, I now understand what was happening. 8 months ago I was put on some intestinal antibiotics for what was a suspected gastro-infection and while taking these I was told to discontinue the PPI meds as they would hinder the absorption of the antibiotic.

I stopped the Nexium cold turkey and over these past months have developed what they are now calling IBS which primarily consists of heavy bloating on the lower left ab area, constipation and nausea.

I have not noticed any increase in acid reflux or heartburn, but I feel that this medication was a key contributor to me developing digestive issues which had never existed in the past.

Almost immediately upon halting the Nexium the stomach and intestinal problems showed up and became quite bad. I underwent many CT and MRI scans, blood work and eventually a colonoscopy. All returned normal and the early revelation of my doctors that I must have diverticulitis was found to be in error as my surgeon performing the colonoscopy told me all looked great.

Without any definitive results for my discomfort and condition, the all encompassing "IBS" was bestowed upon me.

I credit my issues now to fallout from the discontinuation of Nexium and the effect it has had on my digestive system.

Under no circumstances will I return to this type of medication.

One thing that worked for me to halt my early heartburn was simply to raise the head board of my bed about 6 inches and sleep at a bit of an angle.
Worked like a champ.

Try it. Looking back, I wish I had stuck to trying various natural or environmental approaches as opposed to blindly trusting my doctor or falling victim to the never ending commercials telling me how a pill can solve my problems.

Best of luck to any trying to rid themselves of this drug.
For those just starting PPI's.... stop. Do some research and find a natural approach and take the time to adjust your diet.

Our society now always looks for the lazy and fast way to reach for immediate results as opposed to going the harder route of looking in the mirror and changing our own lifestyle to effect our health in a positive way.
I was guilty myself... mistake noted and correction is now ongoing.

I used to take about a teaspoon of baking soda in 1/2 glass of water as needed for heartburn with good results. About six years ago my Dr. recommended I start Prilosec 20 mg every day so I did and it took care of the heartburn without repeated doses every day (a drawback of the soda water) and without having to worry too much about my diet. About a year ago, after asking my Dr. every year if it was a good idea to take Prilosec indefinitely and being told it was fine, "lots of people do it", I decided to try getting off of it anyway, because it isn't actually recommended for indefinite time, and I'd read a lot of negative things about long-term use.

It's been very very hard. I started with skipping a pill every third day, which caused too much trouble for my stomach on the skip day. Then I decided to snip the end off the pill and take a whole pill one day, 2/3 pill the next-for about a month, then 2/3 pill every day for several months, and now 1/2 pill every day.

I now get heartburn at least once most days, so I take soda water again, just like the old days, if I need it but plan to continue on to every other day no Prilosec and then (I hope) off it completely within the next couple of months. I feel like I'm going super slow with it but I definitely notice symptoms every time I reduce dosage. The soda water makes me feel better within 2 minutes when I need it, and if I'm out and about and can't mix up soda water, I take Tums, which are less effective for me but still help. I really think I would have been fine with just the soda water in the first place, and regret ever mentioning it to my doctor.

Hi all, my upper egd showed chronic reflux, moderate erosions, antralgastritis, and a hernia. My doctor prescribed nexium, which I must say worked beautifully. A week later my doctor said to try dexilant. It controlled my symptoms but the side effects weren't so great. Had diarrhea, among other things. My doctor is on vacation so another doctor gave me the okay to go back to nexium.

Two days on nexium have given me heartburn SO bad. I want to get off these drugs but can't until my erosions heal. However, I don't see the doctor until two weeks and I don't know which med to stick with for now. And I don't know why this is happening. Is it bc dexilant was 60 mg and nexium now only 40? Why is my acid going into overdrive? Different drugs, but man. Painful. Please help I'm scared.

I had an endoscopy done in 2007. Did not have heartburn symptoms just a little nauseous feeling and since was under a lot of stress at work, had it done to be sure that I did not have the start of an ulcer.. Imagine my GI doctor's and my surprise that I had 3+ erosive esophagitis. He told me to take a PPI for life (I was able to use whichever PPI I wanted... I worked in an endoscopy center so samples were available).

I have retired so unable to get samples of PPI and even if I could with some of the side effects of them would rather not take.

I started out with Nexium which made me cough, took Aciphex with no problems, and Dexilant no trouble. Since insurance considers these tier 3 drugs needless to say the cost is expensive. I have switched to OTC Zegerid and have developed a cough. When I try to get off I can last maybe 3-7 days before I need to start again. Years ago I was diagnosed with IBS and remember an old home remedy from my husband's grandmother of baking soda mixed with vinegar. Is this something I can try to get off PPI or is there something else? Thank you



I have been off Omeprazole for about 5 days now and feel GREAT!!! I have been taking it for the last year due to GERD. I had severe lump in my throat along with acid and some regurgitation. I noticed the most about this medication is that it changed my behavior. I became mean, short and rude to people constantly which is not me. I was tired all the time and had severe stomach pain.

SO FAR I have had no side effects. I started out for one week cutting my pills in half (my doctor did say it was ok to do), after my week was up I just stopped taking it all together. I noticed today I had severe heartburn, however, I took 2 tsp of raw organic apple cider vinegar which immediately done the trick. I suggest to anyone still on this drug to stop it asap and try the Apple cider vinegar... it tastes nasty going down, but does the trick! Good luck to all and God Bless.

I know this may sound a little silly, but my vet prescribed omeprazole for my 15 year old Siamese cat who I had almost decided to put to sleep because she was so ill... couldn't breathe.... After an endoscopy the internist diagnosed her with severe esophagitis and the omeprazole has totally saved her life. However, that was 2 years ago and with the latest exam, she shows no signs of the esophagitis but vet said to continue the drug.

I have read all of these posts and am now concerned about CiCi. She sometimes has been having strange itching and pawing at her face, has had a hearing loss, etc. I am hoping to wean her off the drug but obviously can't use some of the homeopathic treatments as humans do... have discussed with several vets and all they say is that the drug hasn't been proven in animals, but seems to be well tolerated. I plan to start her on a probiotic.

Has anyone had an experience with their cat? How did they handle "kicking the habit"? I want another few years with my little friend and want her as comfortable as possible.

I have been taking prilosec for almost 15 years. I am curious what systems people are having. My heart burn seems to be getting worse and I am going in for a scope the 2nd week of October.... what issues have you had after 12 years?

Reading this all is freaking me out a bit. I just got back from an echo stress test because I have had some chest pain. I have also had acid reflux for several years and been taking prilosec since it came out on the market... almost 15 years. I haven't noticed any symptoms for taking it however my heart burn has gotten worse in the last few months. My Dr is also sending me in for a scope the 2nd week of October. I am curious what issues people have had from being on Prilosec for so long and how the issues are treated. My echo stress test looked normal I get the full results in 24 hours but so far so good.

I had been on nexium for 3 1/2 years. In the beginning, it was a wonder drug. 6 months ago, digestive problems really kicked in. I seemed to not be digesting food. Always having watery stools, sometimes 4-5 times a day, and often in the middle of the night.

In the last couple of months, cramping became a part of the problem. All of this was attributed to stress, due to the recent passing of my mom. After a discussion with my pharmacist, the idea of long term nexium use causing this came into play. I stopped the nexium, and immediately, my bathroom problems ceased. The bad news is the heartburn came back with a vengeance, much much much worse than it ever was before.

The doc put me on prilosec, yet the heartburn continued (worsened) and the bathroom issues returned in 2 days. Then I was tried on zantac. 2 days of wondrous relief, then back in the bathroom. It's like I had no stomach acid at all and zantac also caused horrible dead gut feeling and headaches. So... I opted to go off everything cold turkey. Needed to detox. I will say it was horrible for over a week.

I had horrible heartburn, a sore throat, a cough, and initially some shakes, a snotty feeling lump in my throat, some difficulty swallowing and a loss of appetite. In week 3 now, I am much better. I still have mild heartburn and a sore throat at times, but can now it small meals and feel overall much better.

I take some tums, and have drastically modified my diet, and lost some weight. (13 pounds) I have a ways to go, but am in way better shape than I was on the meds long term. I see a GI doc on Thursday, and pray he will hear me out and not push to put me back on meds. I've made it through this detox rebound horror and hope that with some more time my stomach pumps will reset, and my heartburn can be managed without the meds that cause such side effects.

I recently took a combination of PPIs for 4 weeks. One week of Aciphex, then 3 weeks of Prevacid when my Aciphex samples ran out. This was for garden-variety heartburn. Being the "good patient", I took them for a few weeks then discovered all kinds of new issues popping up. Massive abdominal discomfort and pain was the worse, and increased heartburn, resulting in an ultrasound that showed no problems with gallbladder or anything else.

My doc wanted to send me to a GI specialist, but I refused saying the new symptoms never existed before starting the PPI, and that I was going to stop taking it to see what happens. I sure wish I'd investigated these drugs before taking them, I trusted the doctor's judgement, but I'll question everything in the future.

Needless to say, things started improving a week after stopping the PPI. My heartburn has gone from practically 24/7 to a few hints of it 1-2 times per week. The abdominal bloating and pain is gone. I'll never take a PPI again. I should add that I've dropped all caffeine, chocolate, and have lost 20 pounds this past month due to this ordeal. I've also started an exercise program since getting off the PPI, and I have to credit that for the improvement.

Hi everyone! My ordeal started about 2 and a half years ago, I was having a severe feeling like something was pushing outwards on my lower right rib, and once in awhile I had a burning in my stomach. My Dr sent me to GI and he did a scope to look in my stomach, only found a small amount of inflammation. So he put me on PPIs. And about a month after that I started getting SEVERE heartburn 24/7. Then after about a year I started having stomach pain, so they thought it was my galbladder, had all the test done and they all came back fine accept some poylps on it, which my dr said shouldn't cause any symptoms.

Then about 8 months ago I started getting chest pain, I get chest pain everyday now along with the heartburn, Ive had a few tests done on my heart and they also came back fine, I am also having anxiety attacks everyday and I am really depressed all the time now, I have been on every PPI there is. Nexium is the one I have been taking for the last 6 months, My nerves are shot, I haven't worked in 2 years, which is taking a toll on my relationship, My fiance thinks im nuts since all the testing I've had comes back fine, I TRULY believe that the PPIs ARE the cause of my all my symptoms physical and mental, I am in the process of weaning myself off them.

So far I have been taking half a dose a day, next week I will try half a dose every other day. If my symptoms go away after I get off this med I am gonna raise some hell with the numerous Drs I have seen in the past few years, and also my pharmacist.

And my GI did remove my galbladder on Halloween, He thought it was a shot in the dark, but said lets take it out and see if I feel better. Well is hasn't helped at all,

Well that's all for now, I will post about the weaning off of the ridiculous pills, Something needs to be done about this, We need to get the word out about how PPIs affect a persons life.

Interesting posts. We are all saying the same thing... we are worse off now than before going on a PPI. I am currently trying to wean myself off aciphex. I was given a script for protonix but had terrible side effects. I stopped cold turkey because it had only been 6 days. In 13 days I was hit with massive acid rebound in my stomach so bad that I went back to the PPI. It scared the life out of me.

Now, a few weeks later I am using zantac to ease off. Learned my lesson. These drugs are bad for my system. I have not had a good experience. I was diagnosed with hiatal hernia but prior I had no immediate problems not until my Dr. gave me prescription ibuprofen. That did it. Like a volcano. This experience has taken over my life the last two months. It has really been traumatic. I am praying that I am successful. Hope that you are too.

I appreciate all the comments. I'm just about ready to take the plunge and get myself off these medications. I've been using OTC Prilosec type ones for over ten years. I tried once, but the pain was so much I didn't last a day. Now I can see why and I am resolved. One thing I wanted to mention, in my research I've found a major problem with these drugs is that people become very magnesium deficient, and that can cause a myriad of problems.

Practically everything in our body requires that to work properly. The biggest one that glared out at me was the heart problems, arrhythmia and fluttering .. all can be coming from the magnesium deficiency. So that's an issue that also needs to be addressed coming off this (or staying on them, for that matter). If it's bad enough they do injections, or there are many supplements to be taken. I'm ready to start!

hi folks
can anyone forward me a link to a get off omeprazole protocol??
I want o get off but want to see a a clear methodology. The only info I've found so far is in the comments on this page!

I was able to successfully wean off Prilosec-- it took a couple of months, but it CAN be done! It took cutting each pill into quarters, and taking 3/4 of a pill for 2-3 weeks, then dropped another 1/4 of a pill after 2-3 weeks, etc., until I was OFF.

However, this medication dropped my iron and ferritin (and B-12, folate and vitamin D, and I wonder what else) so low that I was not able to tolerate my thyroid medication (thyroid med is NEEDED, the Prilosec is NOT needed for me to function), and thus I had to stop thyroid support for SIX months until I could address the iron problems. And restart thyroid at an extremely low dose, and try to regain months of lost ground.

I'd say I lost a year's worth of good health progress because of Prilosec. Thank you Prilosec!!!! -- I gained 40 pounds in 2 months because of the malabsorption problems from this medication, and not being about to take my essential thyroid med. I believe my magnesium levels are also at record lows because of Prilosec. Not to mention my fingernails were shredding like crazy. So, something was going on... Will never touch Prilosec again as long as I live. Stay away from it if you can.

Oh, by the way, my thyroid group has suggested Betaine HCl (hydrochloric acid), which I have been taking WITHOUT any problems whatsoever (I never had heartburn in my life, and the GI doc had no CLUE as to how I developed 2 ulcers... no h. Pylori, no reflux, no heartburn, etc, yet take this med to lower your acid??), and am DIGESTING better than before. So... chances are, my stomach acid was already LOW when I was put on this dandy medication known as Prilosec.

So the last time I wrote was mid November. I had just stopped nexium cold turkey and was in the midst of it all… I am updating you now on my progress. The sore throat is gone completely, and so is that heartburn induced cough. The heartburn is still present daily, but not as bad as it was a month and a half ago. I can manage with tums and liquid maalox now that the "rebound" has settled. I have bad days as I learn what foods are bad news for me (red sauce, brown butter sauces, maple syrup (?)... and fried foods.

That being said, I certainly can eat a lot, though overindulging is bad. .. I am not cured, but better than on the ppi. I don't do well on pepcid or zantac either (digestive issues) and the surgery sounds like a bad idea for me as far as side effects of that go. tons of water, losing a bit of weight, the wedge pillow, chewing gum after a meal, strolling after a meal, and eating earlier have all helped. Trying a low dose of xanax (.25)in the morning as well. I have read it has helped some people with the burning bile production and my doc was game to try the low dose. only been a few days, but I swear it has taken the edge off of the burn.

I had an endoscopy, inflamed lower esophagus. He actually wanted to put me BACK on a ppi. seriously? that's what got me into this mess in the first place. ... I won't lie, at times I ponder going back on the nexium. Then I remember how sick I was, and how hard I worked to get off it. ... so a success story??? not yet, but, I'm off the ppi's for 2 months now, and have somewhat of a life back. Thinking of checking out that aloe juice.... won't give up yet.

Hello everyone! I am a few days away from starting another round of weaning myself off of Prilosec. I have done it before successfully, but I am still nervous. A little history.. Acid reflux/GERD started for me about 5 years ago. I used Protonix for a while, got better, had another bout, went on Nexium for a few months, got better, went on Prilosec for several months, and finally weaned myself off again in the spring. This summer I was on a cruise drinking margaritas and eating huge meals! Living life! Seems like a dream now. My reflux gets really bad and hangs on for a while.

I get laryngitis, sinusitis, ear pain, dry hacking cough, cough with phlegm, stomach pain, the throat lump feeling, pain, swelling and red bumps in my throat, and I end up sleeping on the recliner for 7 – 10 days because the reflux and coughing won’t let me sleep in my bed. I really tried this last time to go the holistic route, but as you all know, it’s hard to know EXACTLY what to do, how much to take, when to take it etc…

As someone commented previously, I want DIRECTIONS. I also tried to tell myself I wasn’t having an episode, so I ate huge meals every night and went crazy on all the foods I love at Thanksgiving. BAD idea… Reflux is all about diet, especially when you are in an episode. I have purchased many good books though Amazon and spent hours on the internet.

This time the nexium (40mg 1x day) gave me a bad headache and made my stomach feel hard and small. A piece of multigrain bread and 2 snap peas and 2 baby carrots with a thumb size piece of chicken is lunch and dinner for me. I am barely eating... I read where you should eat an apple a day to help with reflux. I can’t eat a whole apple in one day… So after 2 weeks on nexium, I switched to prilosec (20 mg 1x day). I had some rebound, but not too bad.

The prilosec has been ok, but I know the sooner I am off of it the better. So here is my plan… I have been taking aloe vera gel caps in the am, fish oil in the afternoon, chewing papaya enzyme tablets after meals (which is HELPING!!) and gum after dinner, and I just started sipping on chamomile tea from 8:30 to 9:30 pm. I want to buy some of those licorice tablets as well. The apple cider vinegar seemed to make my situation worse, but I suspect that I wasn’t taking it correctly. I will keep you posted on my progress. I am open to suggestions.

your story is almost exactly like mine!!!!

I was just told I have anemia last week and I am 24 hours prevacid free! I would love to exchange emails, I would really like any advice that you could give me on what vitamins took to get through the acid that comes back when you first start to quit!

any help from anyone would be greatly appreciated.

I am currently in college and very busy and want to get better ASAP.
15 mg of prevacid for 14 months. was put on it after what I thought was a panic attack or heart attack sent me to the hospital.
I want to be ppi FREE!!!

advice please :)

I've been taking PPIs for 12 years--first Protonix, then Prilosec/Omeprazole. I thought I just had chronic heartburn. A few days ago I ran out of Omeprazole but didn't have time to get more. On Sunday, a friend mentioned to me that the longer he goes without taking Prevacid, the less heartburn he has. I wondered if I could quit Omeprazole, and I'm on Day 3 of my experiment.

So far, I'm managing by carrying a bottle of Maalox Advanced tablets everywhere I go. But my heartburn is waking me up several times a night and I don't know how long I can keep this up.

But after reading this page and others I know I need to keep going.

keep going.. it gets better.. 4 months off of the ppi now, and I am down to just a few tums a day. Honest. .. I still chew gum after dinner, and stay away from my trigger foods (red sauce and rich cream sauces, rich creamy cheeses), but have learned that onions and some spices are not a big problem at all. The wedge pillow works some, so does sleeping on my left side. I found that a round of oral antibiotics caused a setback, but when I finished them I got back on track again.

Getting through the "rebound" period takes time, and I was tempted to give in more than once, but I didn't.. trust me.... keep off of them and weather the storm. It is soooooo worth it after a few months. I do know that sounds like forever when you are suffering, I wish you the best.

I have been on Protonix for almost 11 years. Dealt with anemia last year and now becoming anemic again. I am no longer getting the benefits from Protonix and haven't been for years, but tried to get off only to experience horrible pain, but now I my health is going downhill and I blame this med.

I can't get my blood pressure under control anymore, I have gained weight from feeling what I thought was hunger pains, and dealing with anemia has made me so tired I didn't want to think about exercising. I went down to every other day taking the pill almost three weeks ago and last Friday as I sat in my doctors office and him telling me I was again becoming anemic, I stopped taking it all together.

It has only been four days but so far I have been able to deal with the pain in my stomach that has started since Friday. I have the feeling of being ill and have lost my desire to eat any food at all but it doesn't compare to how I felt on Protonix. The dizziness I was feeling everyday for years has stopped. The bloating I felt at the end of the day that made me look pregnant is also gone.

I wish I had stopped years ago but at least I am doing it now. I have Pepto-Bismol on hand and only once used it and it helped a lot. Good luck to everyone who tries to get off this med. I wouldn't say it is an evil med, I really did need it 11 years ago but I should have stopped after like 6 months. I think this is the new med doctors want to abuse and why they don't know about this heartburn rebound when you stop is beyond me. Are they lying to us?

You said:

I use pure unfiltered raw cider vinegar for heartburn (1 tbsp). Does anybody else use this NATURAL remedy?


No, no one does because pouring acid into a stomach with discomfort due to acid seems absurd. Sorry to be blunt but it seems very foolish. On the other hand, vinegar being a mild acid, you may not hurt anything.

But then it is so NATURAL. ... "Natural" being one of the biggest fads of our lifetime with very little basis in scientific definition that proves anything to be "natural." You are kidding yourself.

I've been on prilosec for 3 months after being diagnosed with GERD. I had an awful cough, and heartburn that Prilosec has helped with. The side effects however are burping and cramping of my stomach. Finally went back to the doctor yesterday and he switched me to protonix. The cramping and belching has been going on for awhile, anyone experience the same kind of cramping? Its just below my rib cage on my left side. Annoying but not really painful. hoping it will go away soon, as it has me worried that it's something more serious.

I have been on an acid suppressant of some type for the better part of 25 years, mainly Ranitidine. I have suffered some hair loss and osteopenia because of this. Lately I have switched to Prevacid. I have been interested in weaning myself off of these poisons for awhile, and right now I am taking 500 mg of mastic gum twice daily for a few months to see how it goes.

I have tried apple cider vinegar in the past to no avail, as well as betaine HCL. DGL licorice throws my blood sugars through the roof.

Thank God I found this. Been on Prilosec and Prevacid for about 6 months and I have been having lots of problems. Severe depression, I'm passing undigested food, and my energy level has been low. I also think my hair is turning gray faster since I started. Also been having a distended stomach. Every time I try to get off it I get nasty intestinal cramps. I'm going to try supplements.

I started to have acid reflux/gastritis symptoms in the beginning of 2011; nausea while laying down, chest tightness, anxious or anxiety feelings, burping, trouble sleeping, and sometimes sore throat. My doctor prescribed Omeprazole, because he thought I had gastritis. I took Omeprazole once a day for 30 days and I was cured. Well I was wrong, after about 6 months the symptoms came back and the anxiety feeling was 5 times worse. I took Omeprazole for two weeks, and the symptoms stopped. Then it came back again for a third time. I started to have upper abdomen pain as well so my doctor referred me to a gastroenterologist.

My gastroenterologist is a Harvard med graduate, and very intelligent. He performed a Endoscopy, and the results was normal. He stated that the Omeprazole dosage I was taking, 20 mg a day is not enough, and my body started to resist. Usual dosage should be 40 mg a day he stated for serious GERD symptoms. So he prescribed me Protonix. I took one pill of Protonix 40 mg a day for 3 months. That's what he recommended in my case. By the way, he also stated there is a direct link with anxiety and acid reflux.

So I went cold turkey after the 3 months, and stopped taking Protonix. The next day I started to have withdrawal symptoms, like my body was aching for the Protonix. I asked my self, am I still fighting the disease or am I fighting a withdrawal from the drug? When I researched, I came across this website. So it has been over 1 month without Protonix and for 97% of the current time I have control of the disease and also the drug withdrawal. I am going to share with you what I have been doing:

1. I went cold turkey. Strong will is needed for this, and for some people it might be easier to take smaller dosage and taper off gradually.
2. I started to drink Bragg's Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar 2-3 time a day before meals (2 teaspoons mixed in 8 ounce water).
3. I take Probiotics as well, at least one pill a day. I take Culturelle Lactobacillus GG probiotics.
4. I have cut out Tomatoes and Chocolate out completely out of my diet, and control my caffeine intake (I drink tea instead of coffee for most part). My gastroenterologist recommends no more than one cup of coffee a day. I drink about 1-2 cups a month now instead of a cup everyday.
5. Gastroenterologist recommended to avoid greasy food and so I did. Spicy food is fine.

Also based on my research stress can be a major factor. I have learned breathing techniques to help control my stress, and it has worked wonders. You should be able to find some exercises online to try.

I am going to e-mail my gastroenterologist and ask more about anxiety for GERD/gastritis/acid reflux sufferers. And write what he recommends.

I see no reason why anyone needs to take these medications for years and years, unless they have ulcers or cancer. Otherwise get off it when your doctors tell you to!

yup.. the undigested food is because you are not making the stomach acid any more, at least not enough to break stuff down, and that's what's causing cramping too.. takes a while to get the belly back in to the swing of things, expect some rebound effects if you stop the med, but they will eventually pass.. I say, get off the prevacid, nexium or whatever now, and deal with the gut another way. My stomach and heartburn are a bother now, some days more than others, but it's a whole lot better than what the long term use of the meds were doing..

I am currently trying to go off Prilosec after 5 months. I had severe gastritis. A gastroscopic exam revealed my stomach looked like a cat had gotten in there and scratched the heck out of it. I vomited constantly, had horrible stomach pain, burning and cramps. I became house bound. Prilosec healed me so effectively, I couldn't believe it. Before I took it, I really thought I was going to die. In the Middle Ages, I'm sure I would have.

Now for a new challenge; getting off the medication. Every time I try, the same horrible symptoms come back. This is the "rebound acid effect". Your body produces hormones that build up when on Prilosec, so that when you try to get off, all heck breaks loose. I was on a very high dose 40mg tablet. The way to get off it is this way:

40 mg every day for 7 days
40 mg one day, 20 mgs the next for 7 days
20 mg every day for 7 days
20 mg every other day for 7 days

I was actually so freaked out going off it, I double these from 7 days to 14 days, each cycle. When you are finally off the miracle drug, you have to load up on antacids like Tums whenever the burning pain returns. Make sure you stay on that bland no acid diet forever. Good Luck, it isn't easy, but you have to get off the med because it can cause all kinds of other problems unless you are healed. I was getting gastroparesis, and that is REALLY bad.

Had been on Nexium for two years then switched to Prilosec for the past eight years which is much cheaper and just as effective for me. With Nexium I experienced some hip pain on my left hip as well. Was beginning to experience some upper stomach spasms around an inch below my breastbone with Prilosec so I decided to stop taking it.

Not sure if Prilosec was the cause. It's been five weeks since I stopped taking Prilosec cold turkey and had some clearing my throat issues, some breast bone discomfort but if you avoid triggers and stick to your correct diet, don't eat late at night, don't drink liquids with your meal until an hour later for better digestion, and don't lay down after eating, there shouldn't be a problem.

After some weeks of eating sweet potatoes and numerous glasses of carrot juice my hands have turned orangy yellow. The whites of my eyes are white and other symptoms of liver disease are not present so hopefully it is from too much carotene and not a bad liver. I have also noticed I have a bile body odor which I am very concerned about.

Perhaps my body is producing too much acid now that I am off Prilosec for my body to handle so it is in my blood stream and I am sweating the excess bile. It could be my gall bladder with stones or blockage. I will be getting blood tests in the near future to address this concern. I may have to go back on Prilosec to correct this bile imbalance if that is the cause or perhaps my body needs more time to assimilate.

Thanks everyone for the informative comments. I am weaning myself from 10 yrs plus of Nexium. I guess I thought it would be easy. Ha!! I asked my Dr. how to do this and he said just quit and if you have problems, take Zantac. I am stubborn so didn't want to take more pills but found that I was eating Tums almost like candy. I broke down last week and took Nexium again so am having to start over. Heartburn, coughing (I had no idea this was related!), waking up at night, tried a Zantac today. Am going to try the apple cider with water also. Again, thanks for the support of your comments....I have learned a lot!

try to skip the zantac and continue to give it your best cold turkey.. trust me, it sucks , but you WILL get through it, I started cold turkey last October, and it did take 3 months of hell (nexium 7 years plus) to get past it, but I did!. I now stay away from tomato sauce and really rich foods (spices were ok usually) and am doing alright without meds. I need tums (a few a day) and have setbacks once in a while, but I am free of nexium and living without all of the terrible side effects from it.

Yes, it was hell for a while, but like anything else, the body adjusts... the rebound effect wanes and you become a regular person with basic heartburn again. It aint all roses, but it's better than life on that drug. Stick with it.. I promise!!! it takes time, but you will get through it.

I am so happy I found this site! A few months ago I went to my doctor complaining of occasional nausea and stomach pain a few hours after going to bed. After having a blood test done to ensure nothing serious was going on she suggested that I take prilosec OTC for a 28 day cycle to repair my stomach lining. It seemed to work great! Last week was my first week prilosec free and even though I only took it for 28 days my body was a mess.

I was feeling nausea and stomach pain more frequently, had bad headaches, felt weak and generally had no energy. I went back to the doctor at the end of the week and she suggested I go back on the prilosec. I have been really hesitant to do so because she gave me no end date, only told me I should keep taking it as long as I needed. I found this site just in time! I will definitely be looking up natural remedies to cure my issues.

After 5 years with ME I got gastritis in 1995. I was taking zantac till it stopped working in 2001, then switched to pepcidine. One year later I was put on nexium and later on prevacid. Last year I got terribly ill.

I was put on prilosec, double dose. It made me so sick, I thought I should die. One year ago I managed to get off PPIs, taking pepcidine. I had terrible rebound acid for four months. My problem now is that I can't get off pepcidine. I started with 40 mg a year ago, have now been taking 30 mg for quite a while.

As soon as I try with 30/20 every other day it doesn't work. I take probiotics, enzymes, drink licorice tea and take lglutamine. I don't have reflux, but I get very sleepy and weak, and have nausea.

I have been in prilosec for 1 year for acid reflux. Slowly over time I started noticing weird symptoms. Chest pain, bloating, leg pain in the shins, fatigue, anxiety, & some depression. I have never experienced this prior to take the medication. I started researching & to my surprise, came across literally thousands of sites with people experiencing the same symptoms. I am now in the process of weaning my self off of the prilosec. I am only on day 4. I'm taking one prilosec 20 mg one day, then one Zantac the next. I am experiencing some abdominal pain which I take maalox for. Hopefully I will be prilosec free very shortly.

I was on omeprazole for 16 months, one 20mg pill per day. I quite cold turkey 6 weeks ago and my nausea, indigestion and stomach pain has just finally let up some. Its been a rough 6 weeks but i feel there is light at the end of the tunnel. I'm not 100 percent back to normal but I feel I'm around 75 percent.

DGL increases your blood pressure and should be used with extreme caution.
Do not take DGL if you are on bp medication.
I am off omeprazole for nearly 2 weeks. My extreme bloating has gone away and unfortunately I am sufferering badly with my reflux pain. I was vomiting after rice and raw carrot last night. I wish there was an easier way to get rid if my dependency.
Omeprazole user for 15 years.

People's Pharmacy response: The reason we suggest DGL is that the glycyrrhizin is stripped out: deglycyrrhizinated licorice. Plain licorice does raise blood pressure. DGL is not supposed to if it has been formulated properly.

I was presented with a mild case of gastritis and some early signs of GERD in December. My doc put me on Dexilant 60. When my problems got worse he bumped me to twice a day. Within a couple of weeks my problems improved and I went back to one a day. The bounce effect was so bad I almost went back to two. Then the worse problem happened, my insurance wouldn't cover it and I had to switch to OTC. I am currently taking OTC prilosec and once I get the rebound from Dexilant under control, I'll begin to wean myself of it. I would love to get back to just taking Pepcid and Zantac as needed.

Has anyone had irritation to the skin and scalp because of this stuff? Been taking zantac regularly for about a little over a year. Within the last 6 months have noticed my skin is staying broke out, my scalp is irritated and my hair has thinned drastically. By more than half) and I'm constantly shedding. Plus I've noticed severe bone and joint pain, have mood swings and occasional bouts of depression since I've been on this.

My main concern, is rather or NOT my hair will grow back in and be full and normal again. Has anyone else had a similar situation or any insight?

I, like many others here, am on Omeprazol and have been for the last 2 years on and off. I'm trying to cold turkey it and I am going with a low sugar/carb diet to try and lose some weight. I've noticed many of the symptoms expressed by others here. Ive been on the diet for 3 or so days now and can say the heartburn is not that bad, since I am really trying to stay off tomatoes, carbs and sugar, but the bouts of nausea are terrible.

A bit early to tell if the advice in here is going to work, but so far, so good.

Wow reading all these comments makes me think twice about taking medication long term. I just recently changed Gastroenterologist and was given 4 different type of medications to try for my Ulcers and Gastritis. I have been on Dexilant for 2 years now and was never told that this was not a long term medication. I changed doctors because I still continue to have issues with my stomach. I went to a doctor to begin with because one night I ate a couple baby pickles and shortly afterwards I started experiencing this pain in my sternum that grew to such intensity that I was doubled up on the floor shaking and eventually throwing up. it lasted 3 hours. This happened to me several times and I assumed it was my gallbladder because my sister had the same issues and it was her gallbladder. I lost 20 pounds eating ramen noodle soup because I was scared to eat anything else. I made an appointment with a gastroenterologist and she did every test available. rectal exam showed hidden blood and A Upper GI endoscopy and biopsy showed I had severe gastritis and several ulcers. She told me it was stress related. She put me on 40 mg of Dexilant and have been on it for two years. The pain has not come back but I have frequent nausea especially in the morning along with a Gnawing feeling that only feels better with food. I wake up at night with hiccups, and I have a sore feeling in my sternum from time to time. I am constantly clearing my throat like their is this film on the back of it. The worst of it all is not having any energy. I am not sleepy, just tired. I get mild headaches as well. not sure if it's related but I have skin issues as well..dry scalp, skin, dry mouth and my face itches sometimes. I also have bruises all over me. This new Doctor I went to see yesterday gave me several prescriptions as well as free samples to try to save me money. He said that some people have to be on medication for life or they choose surgery. It's finding what medication works best for the person that is the problem. He also mentioned diet and being aware what triggers it and to cut it out of my diet. Tomatoes being one. He is waiting on my records from other Doctor to give me the best advice but last night I took a sample of zegerid he gave me before I went to bed and I know it takes 5 days before medication like this to work but I don't think it should make you feel worse either. I felt like a ball was wedged in my sternum and I am belching more then usual and my PVC'S are going crazy today and had to take a Atenolol today and have not had to take one in 9 months. I am going to try and change my diet up and look for alternative remedies like baking soda and water to cure this instead of taking medication for life. I usually look to alternative ways to cure but my first Doctor scared me with her talk on my ulcers and how it could eat through my stomach and kill me and also the pain that drove me to seek help was the reason not to question the medication but the lack of energy and nausea is ruling my life and makes me question it all and seek alternative treatment.

Thank Goodness I found this site. I have been feeling so isolated in my journey with PPI's and bad reactions. I have been on nexium and then dexilant for a year. I had a terrible episode a year ago where I was so nauseated I could not eat and felt like I was dying. I went to the Doctor who put me on Nexium which immediately made me feel better. I had been taking pain killers (lots of vicodan) for a bad back for 5 years and I am sure that is what messed up my stomach. I had an endoscopy and colonoscopy, an MRI of all my insides, Every thing came back normal. I lost 15 lbs which is concerning as I am thin anyway.

The nexium began to make me feel weird, and not work as well for my reflux so I was switched to Dexilant which was great for about a month. Then I began to get bouts of vertigo, ear pain, and a general spacey awful feeling plus diarrhea. I had weaned myself off the vicodan a year ago, deciding pain was better than this awful nauseated feeling all the time.

I told my gastro Dr and she said to stop the dexilant. I did and within 2 days felt like I was dying again. No energy and extreme nausea. I could not stand it yesterday and took 1 nexium to see what would happen. It actually made me feel better. I need to get off these drugs! I feel as though they are poisoning me.

This is a follow up for everyone on my progress. Last year I took pantrapozole for about 6 month, 40mg pill every morning before breakfast. I've been doing so much better and I now only take a lower dosage of 20 mg once in a while (sometimes once or twice a month!)

The key is watching what you eat. For example, I personally get bad reflux when I eat the or drink the following: coffee, red wine, tomato and chocolate. So I have completely stopped eating the above. On days when my reflux is good, I cheat and have a cup of coffee. If you need caffeine, try tea instead.

So far it's been much better. So please pay attention to food that makes you feel nauseated or gives you heart burn. Once you know, then cut those food out completely. This is the only way You can get off the medicine or lower your dosage in my opinion.

Hope that helps. Good luck and good health to all.

After 10 years of Nexium (40mg) once and sometimes twice per day, I (not Doc) decided to quit cold turkey July 4. Not sure if related but in June had a UTI and after bloodwork Doc said declining Hemoglobin (32 down from 39 a few years ago - which he's watching closely), B12 etc were normal and PSA elevated to 4 after being

I appreciate the comments above including watching diet - just finished my afternoon coffee and choc cake (my diet breaks all the rules) - and I am feeling it. I will do whatever is necessary to stay off of Nexium and fill my Doc in on my decision when I see him in August.

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