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Can You Get Off a PPI Without Suffering Heartburn?

One reader found a way to get off a PPI without withdrawal symptoms: Eat just one low-carb meal a day to reduce discomfort.
Can You Get Off a PPI Without Suffering Heartburn?
PPI esomeprazole heartburn

Have you ever tried to get off a PPI like esomeprazole (Nexium) or lansoprazole (Prevacid)? If so, you might have experienced rebound heartburn. People who encounter this problem–and many do–may find it difficult to stop taking their acid-suppressing medication.

A Different Way to Get Off a PPI:

Q. I’ve accidentally found an amazing way to get off of acid-suppressing drugs without having rebound reflux. I’ve been taking heartburn medicines for decades, ever since cimetidine first came out. Later, I started taking omeprazole or esomeprazole. Whenever I tried stopping these drugs, I got horrible heartburn.

This time, I discovered by accident how to get off them. I’ve been trying to lose weight, so I’ve gone low carb. I eat just one meal a day, because I’ve heard that intermittent fasting is helpful.

A week ago, I decided to try once again not to take daily medication to control my incessant heartburn. I stocked up on Tums and other antacids because I knew I would be in trouble once I stopped. Then I took my last Nexium and waited for the flames of hell to appear in my chest.

About 15 hours passed and I started to feel a little heartburn coming. I took a Tums and waited for the next round. I’m still waiting. A week later, I’ve not had any heartburn. I should be in agony, but I’m completely heartburn-free. I feel like singing!

Hopefully, this information will help others who were addicted to PPIs as I was. The solution is: Eat one meal a day and fast for 23 hours before you eat again. Stick to low carbs and water. Good luck!

Low-Carb Diet Can Help:

A. Research supports your accidental discovery. A very low-carbohydrate diet has been shown to help control symptoms of acid reflux (Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Nov. 2016; Digestive Diseases and Sciences, Aug. 2006).

We were not able to find research demonstrating that intermittent fasting is helpful for heartburn. However, people who follow a schedule of eating within a twelve-hour daily window or less seem to sleep better, gain less weight and have healthier hearts (Journal of Physiology, June 15, 2017). We offer several other non-drug approaches to get off a PPI in our Guide to Digestive Disorders. 

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
  • Pointer SD et al, "Dietary carbohydrate intake, insulin resistance and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease: a pilot study in European- and African-American obese women." Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Nov. 2016. DOI: 10.1111/apt.13784
  • Austin GL et al, "A very low-carbohydrate diet improves gastroesophageal reflux and its symptoms." Digestive Diseases and Sciences, Aug. 2006. DOI: 10.1007/s10620-005-9027-7
  • Melkani GC & Panda S, " Time-restricted feeding for prevention and treatment of cardiometabolic disorders." Journal of Physiology, June 15, 2017. DOI: 10.1113/JP273094
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