Q. I know PPIs have tons of side effects, but the trouble is I’ve taken them for years. Now I am stuck with them.
I’ve tried to get off of them several times, and each time it ended in failure. Please help!
A. Proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid) or esomeprazole (Nexium) can be extremely difficult to quit. The problem is rebound hyperacidity that can last up to four weeks after the heartburn drug is stopped (Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, May, 2013).
We are sending you our Guide to Digestive Disorders with suggestions on how to ease the discomfort as you withdraw from your reflux medicine. These include using DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) or persimmon tea to prevent heartburn symptoms. Sometimes it helps to use an older-style heartburn pill such as ranitidine or cimetidine to get through the worst of it. We have included advice from Tieraona Low Dog, MD, on how to overcome this difficulty, but you might also be interested in her in-depth book from National Geographic, Life Is Your Best Medicine. We offer it together with a CD of our one-hour interview.