The People's Perspective on Medicine

How Can You Get Off a PPI Without Withdrawal?

Many people who have taken an acid-suppressing drug for months or years could use advice on how to discontinue their PPI without withdrawal symptoms.

When proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drugs were first introduced decades ago, the perception was that these heartburn drugs had hardly any side effects. Both doctors and their patients were convinced that omeprazole (Prilosec), the first PPI, was both very powerful and extremely safe. This view has held up well enough for the FDA to approve non-prescription use of omeprazole (Prilosec OTC), lansoprazole (Prevacid24HR) and esomeprazole (Nexium 24HR). Are these powerful acid-suppressing drugs as safe as many people think?

PPIs Are Not Quite as Safe as They Seemed:

Gradually, however, data have accumulated showing that the PPI drugs are not really as safe as they originally seemed. First we learned that people taking a PPI are more susceptible to pneumonia (JAMA, May 27, 2009).

Then researchers found that people taking a PPI medication are much more likely to experience repeated infections with Clostridium difficile, or C. diff for short (JAMA Internal Medicine, May, 2015). This infection causes potentially devastating diarrhea that can in some cases be life threatening. It is extremely hard to treat, as the name “difficile” implies.

There are a number of other serious side effects of PPIs that have been surfacing. You can read more about hip fractureschronic kidney disease, disrupted bacterial balance in the digestive tract, nutritional disturbances due to poor absorption of certain vitamins and minerals and, now, dementia associated with longer-term PPI use.

Rebound Heartburn Means Serious Withdrawal Troubles:

If you do want to quit taking your acid-suppressing drug, however, you may find it difficult. Many readers do. Here is one person who needs help.

Q. I read your article on PPI drugs causing kidney trouble. I have been on Prilosec for years, so this definitely caught my attention.

You have not given us a way to get off these drugs, though. I was diagnosed with GERD–just too much acid. I want to get off the Prilosec, but I need to know what replacement to try.

A. Researchers reported that proton pump inhibitors are linked to kidney disease (JAMA Internal Medicine, Feb., 2016).  These powerful acid-suppressing drugs include dexlansoprazole (Dexilant), esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec), rabeprazole (Aciphex) and pantoprazole (Protonix). Other complications of long-term use can include mineral deficiencies, an increased risk for fracture, C diff infections and pneumonia. In one case, a patient developed stomach polyps while taking omeprazole (Internal Medicine, online July 15, 2017).

Getting Off PPIs Without Withdrawal:

Getting off such medications can sometimes be difficult due to rebound hyperacidity. Although PPI drugs prevent cells in the stomach from making acid, they keep trying to make it. Gradually they gear up to make more, so by the time a person has been taking one of these medicines for two months, the cells pour out their acid as soon as the drug is stopped.

It can take six weeks or so for this over-reaction to calm down (Gastroenterology, July, 2009). No one should ever stop a PPI without careful medical consultation. Some serious medical conditions may require long-term treatment despite the risk of side effects.

A review of the medical literature (Therapie, Oct. 26, 2017) concluded:

“Daily PPI exposure for more than 4 weeks is likely to trigger a rebound of acid hypersecretion about 15 days after discontinuation, and lasting from a few days to several weeks depending on the duration of the exposure.”

There are some approaches that may be helpful for stopping a PPI without withdrawal symptoms. You will find a number of tips here.

Slowly Lower the Dose:

Lowering the dose gradually, if possible, might make the rebound acid secretion less noticeable. “Gradual” is a confusing term, though. For some people that might mean a week. For others it might mean several months. Neither the drug manufacturers nor the FDA provide clear guidance when it comes to stopping such medications. We suspect that they would prefer not to admit that there is such as thing as rebound hyperacidity. 

We have learned over time that everyone is different when it comes to phasing off medicine. That goes for sleeping pills, anti-anxiety agents, antidepressants and drugs to treat pain.

If at any time you experience bad heartburn, go back on the last dose of PPI and then resume the taper even more gradually. You may need to look for esomeprazole, omeprazole or lansoprazole in a capsule formulation. Some people trying to get off the antidepressant duloxetine (Cymbalta) have told us that they remove one bead or granule each day. It can take months to gradually wean off this medication.

It may also be possible to control the symptoms during withdrawal by taking other medications, such as cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid) or ranitidine (Zantac). Ordinary antacids such as Tums or Maalox may also be useful in this context for symptomatic relief. Another option is Prelief, a compound designed to reduce the effect of eating acidic foods.

Try DGL:

Those who prefer a more natural approach might consider DGL, deglycyrrhizinated licorice. Most of the research on this herb goes back decades, but it has been shown to be helpful for peptic ulcers and aphthous ulcers. Readers have also found it useful.

Sip Persimmon Tea:

In addition, persimmon tea with ginger has helped a number of readers in their efforts to quit a PPI without withdrawal. Presumably the ginger, which has a long history as a heartburn and anti-nausea treatment, is the primary active ingredient. The cinnamon and persimmon may also contribute to the effectiveness of this remedy.

A systematic review of medicinal plants used in traditional medicine for heartburn symptoms demonstrated that myrtle (Myrtus communis) and quince (Cydonia oblonga) preparations worked about as well as omeprazole (Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Feb. 2017). Unfortunately, the authors do not offer instructions on using these plants.

We are sending you our Guide to Digestive Disorders including tips on getting off PPIs. We trust you will find it helpful.

Revised 5/3/2018

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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. .
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I stopped the PPI “cold turkey” after I cured my ulcers, esofaghitis, duodenitis and gastritis. I took them for 5 weeks.

After 2 weeks and a half without PPI I became nauseous. Have been extremely nauseous for 2 weeks already.

Is it a withdrawal symptom? I’m scared I will be forever nauseous. I did a lot of others tests (gastroparesis, ultrasound gallblader, pancreas, gastroscopy) already, and all are negative.

I have silent Gerd in my esophagus. I find that I cannot breathe in properly and sometimes the reflux comes back up into my esophagus and makes my throat very red and I feel as if I have strep throat but I don’t. I am on 40 mg of the Dexilant. I also take sucre fate. Four times a day. I want to get off all this medicine but I don’t know how. Any advice? Is there anyone out there that has similar symptoms as me?


I like the advice of squeezing a 1/2 of lemon in a glass of water and drinking before / after meals! That makes good sense. Acid is neutralized by alkaline, and “lemon” is a natural alkaline, thus this is just actual natural science. I’m going to give that a try! GREAT idea!

I will tell you EXACTLY what you need to do to get off this stuff as I did.

I was prescribed Prevacid back in 1997 and switched to Prilosec OTC so I could avoid seeing a doctor long time back to get a prescription. I’ve been on Prilosec until recently this year and now off of it entirely with NO ISSUES!!!

I was on a low-carb diet said to improve digestion but that was not enough to get me off of Prilosec. I tried Mastic Gum, DGL Licorice root, Aloe, probiotics, apple cider vinegar, and even digestive enzymes but all to no avail.

I tried cutting the pill as told to me by my doctor and even doctors online but the pain would return in under a week where I just ended up going back on the full dose.

I was still on a low carb diet when I discovered the surefire way to get off the darn thing. You cannot cut the pill and swallow it. There is a reason why it says on the box to not crush or chew. The pill is coated to survive stomach acid. If you cut the pill then your acid destroys it. It was meant to digest in your small intestine.

I bought size OO Vegan Enteric Capsules (Delayed Release – Acid Resistant) available on amazon. Size 00 will fit Prilosec inside. Cut the pill and take 3/4 of the tablet but place the cut tablet inside the capsule and seal it tightly and swallow with water. Do that for one week before going to half a tablet for a week. Then to a 1/4 tablet. Then to every other day and then stop!

I cannot tell you how unbelievable thrilled I am to finally be off that poison. I have had no issues now for 3 months. I am on a low-carb diet so I guessing that is playing a huge part in why I am symptom free but the enteric capsules size 00 is what you must have!

Did I have any issues when cutting the tablet initially? I had such minor and very brief “I think I feel a minor discomfort” was about it. It was always gone before the day ended and I am not sure if it was anything related to reflux as it was really that brief and minor. When I went from half-a-pill to 1/4 of the pill was to experience nothing at all. I am not taking anything to assist (ACV, DGL licorice, Digestive enzymes, or anything). I am that free of it today!!!!

I will be making a YouTube channel soon on it as well as my diet and losing 76 pounds in 10 months without the melted look. No, I have no products to be promoting but rather how I reversed my mild fatty liver, how my triglycerides went from 620 to 107 in 6 months, and how formerly enlarged heart is now normal size.

None of the recommendations helped me at all. My doc says “PPI side effects? Don’t worry about it. The chance of kidney problems is very slight.”

Great discussion. I’m 71. Just started taking 20mg omeprazol and will now reduce to zero asap. Only side effect has been fewer night urinations, a very good thing. Hope it doesn’t come back.

I am at a complete loss as to what I ought to do. I am in my 70s and recently developed AF which is controlled by several medications, have GCA for several years, fibromyalgia forever and a very large hiatus hernia which periodically causes severe pain and, of course the reflux which untreated causes choking and vomiting. I have been taking losec for well over 20 years.
On the two occasions when I was unable to take the losec for 2 or 3 days I was unable to carry out any normal activities or even sleep.
Do I continue on taking the losec in moderate good health waiting to get renal problems and all the other dire conditions?

I have been on these PPIs for a good 25 years with really early joint issues. Had a hip replacement around age 50 and my knees started going soon after. I decided to heal myself with herbal remedies and it is working. First you need to supplement with B12. I believe I read the PPIs deplete your system of this. After that I began by lowering my dose of Nexium (every other day, etc). I then started taking Pepcid 2x/day and eating less. You will find you don’t want to eat as much for fear of acid. I get a bit acidy, but use a Licorice DGL tablet…it really helps. I also sip on tea made with Licorice root and other herbs for circulation (Hawthorn) and nerve regeneration (Shaggy Maine Mushroom). It has been over two months and I just started dropping the Pepcid dose to once a day. I notice my knees hurting if I miss my tea and B12 for a couple days. I would encourage physicians to pay attention to people who use these previously thought of safe drugs. The fact that PPIs keep your stomach from secreting the substance it needs to do it’s job leads to the knowledge that they also keep other areas where they are located from secreting substance that we use to function on a daily basis.

Hi, there,
I have been taking Somac for 7 years, and due to the latest information I decided to try and stop taking the medication. I took the 40mg tablet every second day for 6 days and have now had 5 days with no meds. I am having a glass of 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp Manuka honey, half teaspoon of grated ginger. A little hot water to melt the honey and then fill the glass with half pint of cold filtered water. I have Gaviscon on standby but so far ok. Feeling a bit of pressure in my stomach, and an ache in my back behind my lungs,slight headache, not sure if these are related to stopping the Somac but will keep doing this. Also small meals often not allowing my stomach to feel empty.

Somac is pantoprazole. The US brand name is Protonix.

I’ve been on Protonix for more than 10 years. I’ve never had GERD or acid reflux problems. I was given it as a prophylactic due to NSAID use. I’ve long been off the NSAID, but could never stop this. I thought maybe I had GERD after all, because the rebound was so bad. I’ve tried everything, DGL, D-Limonene, Iberogast, Gaviscon Advance, Carafate – while trying a slow taper. Nothing has worked. So, I did a little research on gastrin blocking drugs, because the rebound acid hypersecretion is due to the fact the body keeps pumping out gastrin, thinking you need acid, which the PPI’s reduce by shutting down the proton pumps.

I found two drugs studied extensively in dogs, and later studies in humans. The one drug is only available for research, and with approval for those with gastrin-producing tumours. The other, Pirenzepine Hydrochloride, a selective M1 anticholinergic drug, is available in many countries in Europe & Asia, but not in the US. It is sold by the brand name Gastrozepin. I found that it is a prescription (50 mg) , except in Austria, Russia & Japan, where the 25 mg dose is available OTC. I then found that it went generic in Japan, which makes it much cheaper. This drug has been tested with omeprazole, and reduced gastrin in people taking omeprazole. It was tested with & without H2 blockers, and it is far more effective when taken with an H2 blocker.

I went looking for online sources, & found a Russian, and an Austria website selling Gastrozepin. So, I found a Japanese mail-order pharmacy online, that sells health & beauty products, and OT meds. They have Gastrozepin & generic Pirenzepine Hydrochloride. The FDA allows the purchase of OTC meds with a limit of a 3 month supply, from another country. The website limited me to two boxes with 100 pills each. They came today, and I’ve already took two doses with famotidine.

I have hardly coughed, and the acid in my throat is way down. Because this is a selective M1 anticholinergic drug, it doesn’t have all the problems that ones like atropine or tricyclic antidepressants or 1st generation H1 antihistamines have. It is known to be well tolerated. It lowers the gastrin significantly. This should be available in the US, available anticholinergic drugs in the US are limited, mostly due to side effects. I have enough for 3 months (100 days), which should be more than enough to enable me to finally get of the PPI. This drug is safer than taking the PPI, and side effects are minimal at the 50 mg a day dose (25 mg morning, 25 mg evening).

Pirenzepine Hydrochloride was originally used to treat ulcers, but has been replaced by H2 blockers & PPI’s. Numerous studies show it’s effectiveness with stopping PPI’s & not getting the rebound acid hypersecretion. I’ve only taken 2 doses, and I can already feel a difference. I have really high hopes that this will work. i’m tired of suffering, & I want off this stuff.

I’ve accidentally found the medical breakthrough cure to get off of these drugs without having the rebound effect. I’ve been on them for some 50 years ever since the advent of Tagamet back in the early 70’s. I’ve tried many times in the past to get off them with no success. This time, I’ve discovered quite by accident how to get off them. I’ve been dieting and have gone from the OMAD diet to the Carnivore diet and applying the same one meal a day to it. I’ve been on it now for 3 weeks. One week ago I decided to try once again to rid myself from having to take Acid Blockers daily to control my incessant heartburn. I went to the drug store and bought a supply of Maalox and Rolaids, because I knew I was going to be in for a battle once I stopped. Then I did it and waited for what I knew was coming…..HEARTBURN ON STEROIDS!

About 15 hours passed and I started to feel a little heartburn coming, so I took a little medicine to neutralize the acid and waited, and waited, and waited. It’s now 5 days later and I’ve had ZERO heartburn. I should be in agony right now, but I’m completely heartburn free. 24 hours a day heartburn free and it’s now 5 days later. It’s as if I was never on them at all. Glory Hallelujah! I’m Free At last! I hope this helps all of you who were addicted to them like I was. The Solution is: Eat one meal a day, fast for 23 hours before you eat again. When you eat, eat Carnivore diet and water. That’s the cure!

I had GERD for years. I started taking low doses of OTC meds then had to get a prescription. I’m taking Protonix. I have had many kidney infections.

My urologist said the PPI didn’t have anything to do with the kidney issues. So I sought a different opinion. This Dr said the same. I have had issues so long now. I’m tired of it all. Help!

My success in getting off Prilosec is still in progress. I used Zantac on alternate days for a couple of months, and now use Zantac daily. In addition, I add a less than an eighth teaspoon of baking soda to all the glasses of water I drink, and am learning about diet choices from your articles.

When I eventually realised the problems that the PPI (Nexium) I was on was causing, particularly its ability to affect my B12 levels and which was prescribed due to a Barretts Hiatus Hernia (Barrett’s esophagus), I looked for an alternative.

Squeeze1/2 lemon and add the juice in a glass of water before and /or after meals was the perfect answer. Completely eliminated the acid issue and caused no harm. In deed, the acid issue has been effectively neutralised for several years now so that is is a very rare incidence of any acid problem.

Solved immediately by going to this perfect natural remedy. And the cost and health savings have been a bonus.

This is an interesting conversation. I’m in my 70’s and have been taking both PPIs and newer NSAIDs (ibuprofen then naproxen after I became allergic to ibuprofen) since before either were OTC, … so well over 2 decades. They were each effective for the reason I had to use them. However, the combination long term has led to a new type of colitis … microscopic / immunologic colitis. Doesn’t even have a real name yet, and only diagnosed with symptoms and then colon biopsy.

The bottom line is that one cannot take a PPI and any of the new NSAIDs at the same time or the colitis symptoms flare badly. The only pain reliever left for joint/muscle pain is aspirin or acetaminophen, since I have not been able to stop the PPI at this time.

So I am reading the approaches to leaving the PPI to see what may be possible to free me up from the acid reflux med long term. A quick dose reduction and replacement with something like Zantac does not work for me … but some of the suggestions here may help me out. Thanks

I went from 20 mg to 10 mg of Prilosec, by opening the capsules and pouring out a few of the granules. Gradually using less and less. Then my pharmacy started offering 10 mg capsules, which I still take once per day. I figure 10 has to be better than 20! (My sister takes 40 mg per day!)

I went gluten free to help manage ulcerative colitis. As a happy side affect of going gluten free I found that I no longer needed the ppi (omeprazole)

I took 30Mg Prevacid for years. A couple years ago, I went to over the counter 15 Mg, and skipping once or twice per week. A tablespoon of antacid before bed usually as well. Also take a probiotic each morning and try not to eat anything after 6PM.

Mastic gum, probiotics, and not eating heavy meals late. Sometimes would take Zantac if needed a little help. Ginger also worked well for me. Tea or capsule.

I was told that Lossec was a safe drug, and I have been on it for years due to severe heartburn. I have completely weaned myself off it by changing my diet to a whole food, plant-based, no-oil diet.

My way to get off PPI after 15 years of use of 20 mg per day. Just stopping or changing to non PPI meds did not work. Bought my regular omeprezole in capsule form. Broke, crushed, and ground the contents. Divided it into empty capsules–pill crusher and capsules purchased from Amazon. I took 6 months and gradually lowered amount in each capsules. When I went off within about 2 weeks I had mild rebound which lasted about 6 weeks. I found Pepsid helped me get through it. I have been off PPIs for 8 months now and use only Pepsid.

Hi! may I ask what your Rebound symptoms where? Thanks in advance

Even a short period on PPIs can set you up for withdrawal symptoms. I was prescribed Pantoprazole for 30 days following a gastro-endoscopic ultrasound as part of a CPVA (heart procedure). I rarely had heartburn, but I had it for a month after ending the Pantoprazole. The bacterial imbalance persisted for a couple of months but has resolved.

If this happens again, I’ll taper off, maybe spreading the last week’s supply over two weeks on alternate days.

I am 70 years old and was on prilosec over 10 years. Followed regimen of nightly apple cider vinegar with occasional zantac and mylanta along with 30 pound weight loss. It took a couple of weeks. Had to get used to deluted vinegar taste. Continue to take it nightly. Was put on prilosec after got ulcer with complications of hiatal hernia and probably due to taking Aleve, etc. All ok now and in process of looking more weight, exercise, and goal to reduce other meds.

People’s Pharmacy articles and comments on those articles helped my 5 yr old! She was diagnosed with gerd and put on 3 meds with long lists of horrible side effects–but those made me uncomfortable!

Our mantra became veggies, veggies, veggies, fruit, fruit, and a little bit of meat, etc. Lots of veggies (ideally 3 per lunch or dinner meal) seems to prevent her constipation, which is a big contributing factor to her gerd. We found which foods were big triggers, and which foods to avoid. We also have added Calm Magnesium 3 times a week, 1 fiber gummy per day, a good daily probiotic and enzyme, and a loaded fruit/veggies/seeds smoothie a few times a week.

We very very slowly backed off of the Omeprozol. We opened the capsule and literally counted out the pellets inside, and did 1 or 2 pellets less daily, through each week or sometimes even every other week. I figured there was no rush–we wanted it to be successful long-term! We backed off so slowly I think it took maybe even 6 months to get from about 20 little pellets inside that capsule to 1 pellet. (She ate it inside an applesauce bite).

Read these articles and comments! They helped!!

A NP friend of mine introduced me to Papaya Extract tablets, one after every meal. She told me that it helps with gastric acid and reflux issues. I have used them and I can tell that it has helped after eating a meal. I still use Protonix but would love to be able to drop that med and use this Papaya Extract tabs only!

I am high risk for esophageal cancer so I have regular endoscopies. In December I was put on Protonix. Day 1 brought a horrible headache. Tylenol is useless and I hesitated to take aspirin, the only pain reliever that works for me. Day 2 and the only joints in my body that didn’t hurt were my artificialhips. After a week of this I called my doctor and was switched to Prilosec. The only change is that I now had ringing in my ears. After 6 weeks of this, my doctor switched me to Zantac. The headaches are less frequent (1-2 week instead of daily) but my joints are still sore; can’t lift pans off the stove, have trouble holding a toothbrush or comb. My rheumatologist did blood work and x-rays and saw no evidence of an arthritic flair (my only other medications are Clairitin and 2.5 mg amlodopine). I quit the Zantac cold turkey and now have reflux which I never had before this whole thing started. Celiac screening came back negative. I tried elimination diets – gluten, dairy, chocolate, and saw no difference without these in my diet or when I started to eat them again. I am at a loss as to what to do next. I don’t drink coffee, tea, or soda. I don’t eat spicy food. I don’t use condiments. I don’t smoke and have alcohol maybe once or twice a month. I eat 4-5 times a day, consuming about 300-400 calories, the calorie count determines how many times I eat. My concern is that a close family member went from occasional heartburn to stage 4 esophageal cancer in 6 months or so.

I was taking the “entry” level amount of my ppi due to a diagnosed hiatal hernia causing awful GERD, but when that wasn’t effectively working I was about to ask for a bump in dosage to finally get real relief. However, after reading about all the problems with ppis, I knew I needed to stop taking them. Somewhere I read about probiotics for this. I started taking a well-known brand of refrigerated probiotic – 100 billion/capsule. Not inexpensive, but unless I accidentally eat something very spicy (jalapeño, etc.), it’s as if i never had GERD.

I am so beyond pleased with this result. Perhaps it will help others as well.

Thanks for all the great ideas. I’m 42 and have been on PPI’s for 24 years. 2 months ago I was diagnosed with food allergies to wheat, milk, eggs and peanuts after months of trying to figure out the cause of symptoms. I never had food allergies before. I have insisted that the long term PPI use has been the root cause of these allergies and have read many pieces of literature supporting my hypothesis. I visited my GI doc and we have started the process to try to get me off of the PPIs. I’ve been on 40mg Nexium and just reduced this week to 20mg for next 30 days. If that is well tolerated then we go to every other day. Fingers Crossed!

Did you stop taking ppi cold turkey?

I am in the same boat, Chuckie! I took various PPIs for over twenty years. About ten years ago I realized I had developed an intolerance to gluten but did not test positive for Celiac. Ingesting any grains caused serious traveling muscle cramps. I cut out all grains and had great results. Then dairy and eggs began causing severe sinus and cold allergies along with cramps. Then nuts, shrimps, olives, vinegar, fermented foods and on and on. I blithely continued to take the PPIs, not understanding they were the cause of multiple food intolerances. When the recent dangers of these meds began to be known I began digging into the possibility that they were the cause. Yep, sure nough! I am on the slow road to recovery. No more PPIs but lots of gagging and throwing up from the hietal hernia. A few of the foods I can eat now. Cannot find a doctor to treat the hernia and Shatzki’s ring who does not insist on prescribing these harmful meds. Shame, shame.

Good luck with this and let we the readers know if it worked successfully!

Hello everybody,
I am new to this. Been struggling with heartburn and nausea and the doctor recently prescribed Nexium 20 mgs. After about 1 week on Nexium 20 mg I could not take it anymore (was waking up a few times throughout the night, getting cramps in the stomach, belching, nausea) I switched to Prilosec 20 mg for another two days and now I want to quit altogether because Prilosec also makes me nauseous and now I wish I had never started these medications! I read here that it can be very tough to stop PPI’s cold turkey but I really want to stop now since I don’t see much improvement and I want to try to do it in a natural way. (Just to follow the diet and maybe take some traditional remedies. Can anyone tell me if Im going to have a strong surge of acid if i quit now only after 10 days and/or also give me some advice on how to stop it gradually, with minimum side effects? Thank you in advance!

I am a 37 year old female with a normal weight BMI. I have been on 40 mg Nexium since 5/2017 for GERD and LPR. I started slowly cutting down November 2017. I am currently on 30 mg Nexium and really struggling. I don’t have heartburn or voice issues again, but I have a dull ache between my shoulder blades. It has gotten worse and worse the more I cut down on the Nexium. Sometimes it is almost debilitating and I feel scared of esophagus issues. Sometimes the pain goes up to my neck and down my back. I am currently taking mastic gum between meals, 75 mg ranitidine, chewing DGL licorice, taking digestive enzymes, and drinking aloe vera juice before meals. I am on a probiotic and drinking apple cider vinegar in water twice per day. I have tried dietary changes and have recently given up sugary sweets.

My question is, should I be worried about the nearly constant dull ache between my shoulder blades or is this a normal part of acid rebound? If it’s normal, I can persevere through the pain and keep cutting down on that horrid PPI. Has anyone else dealt with this? I am considering making an appointment with my PCP, but they always say I should increase my PPI as high as possible. I am tired of drugs. I am only 37 years old. I have tried getting off PPIs before in 2016 and it worked for awhile, but then I had shooting pain in my back and chest. I got scared at that point and started up again and increased from 20 mg to 40 mg per my PCP’s instructions. I am grateful for any help.

I started taking Prevacid back in the early 2000’s when there wasn’t yet an OTC generic version. It was very expensive, $50 a month, but was worth it because I have such bad scarring in my esophagus that I have an actual ring of scar tissue (a Schatzki ring) and have had an endoscopy balloon procedure to open up the narrowed esophagus due to food getting stuck there. I also have a hiatal hernia. Over the years I was treated for thyroid cancer and had that removed and have been on levothyroxine, as well as atenolol & lisinopril/hctz for hypertension. My weight has been up and down over the years, ever since having my kids. I know this has been a factor in GERD, but my gastro doctor told me back when I first started prevacid that I would need to take something for acid production for life because my stomach just produces too much of it.

Even so, I have tried over the past 5 years go get off this dangerous medication, telling myself I can live with just Maalox, Tums, Zantac, but every time I tried, I had a rebound times two in acid production, making me physically ill and in pain, telling myself that quality of life demanded I remain on this dangerous medication. My doctor even told me to get off of it because i had B12 deficiency anemia and it was blocking the formation of proteins in the gut that absorb B12. His advice was to just take tums. He (a family practice doctor) had no idea the amount of acid I was dealing with and the agony it brought. And how did we know it was the prevacid? Because at that time I was still taking the prescription dose. I cut the dose in half, we redid the blood work 6 months later, and I was no longer anemic. Borderline normal. I was shocked and disturbed and really wanted off this medicine. Then an interesting thing happened. When I turned 50 I had a colonoscopy. The doctor told me it was normal except that i have diverticula.

He recommended I start taking fiber supplements, which I did. And the more I read about fiber supplements, the more I learned about its being beneficial to the entire digestion system. So I have been religiously taking fiber power several times a day with my meals. It has become a habit. And recently I had a couple weeks where my diet was changed and I wasn’t eating carbs as much as I usually do. And then I forgot to take my prescription meds one day. I went home from work that night and took all of them except for prevacid, deciding to wait until I had the warning sign of painful heartburn and indigestion before I took it. It’s been 5 days since I last took Prevacid.

I somehow was able to quit cold turkey. The only thing I can point to is a combo of fiber supplements, not overeating, having my last meal before 7pm, drinking lots of water, and a lower amount of carbs than I normally have. I’ve had a little heartburn but have been smart about it by taking zantac in the morning, tums before I eat, tums again in the evening before bed. I can’t believe I’m finally off prevacid. I’m going to do everything I can to stay off of it, too.

I’ve been on Prilosec maybe 3yrs.Two yrs. ago started getting very weak,swollen joints,but not sore,muscles are painful to move and work.Drs.put me on Vit.D,B-12,thyroid medicine nerve medicine,TB medicine, and Prednisone . I’ve had MRI. EMG, X-rays, and blood tests.Went to rheumatologist at HERSHEY MEDICAL CENTER.One day they pulled 9 tubes of blood & did 19 tests.All tests came back negative or no markers,everything “normal”. They always have more pills for me to take 10-12 a day.Very upset with Drs.I quit going,weaned off pills except Prilosec,tried to quit but would vomit 1-2 times a day,didn’t know or think about weaning off.WOW I’m ADDICTED AND NOT FUN.Before Prilosec some comfort foods for me were celery,peanut butter,apples&mint candy sometimes.baking soda works great.How do you know the Ph of your stomach? No caffeine.alcohol,onions and learn to know which other foods.Sodium nitrates and nitrites are very bad ,also canola oil, vegetable oil and fructose corn syrup.

I currently started Zantac 150mg, I take it before I go to sleep due to nighttime reflux. I’m only 21 and of course don’t want to rely on H2 blockers for the rest of my life. How Can I wean off them safely? I’ve taken it consistently for a week and will possibly take it consistently next week, then wean off slowly. Any advice would help!

One thing to pay attention to for nighttime reflux is not eating for at least a few hours before bedtime. For years, doctors recommended elevating the head of the bed on bricks (pillows will not do as a substitute), but we don’t know how good that evidence is.

I asked my doctor about apple cider vinegar, two doctors I’ve seen for my GERD, and both said to not do it. They were pretty adamant about it, but I’ve seen nothing but success from it. I am at a loss as to what to do though because the Prilosec is making me very weak, feverish, and achey (last time I went walking my hips hurt so severely I could cry, which has never happened before. This was after increasing the dose to 40mg from 20mg since my heartburn came back even on the meds). I’ve been on it for about 8-9 months and I am miserable. I can’t do anything anymore because of weakness and heart palpations, even worse at rest, but all blood tests and other tests are normal. Everyone thinks I’m just crazy. I’m 29 years old and used to be very active and am considered healthy besides the GERD. Naproxen is what flared it up last year to begin with and I have been made to take Naproxen by my doctor since a few months back when I got Pleurisy, which I have never had before either. No one takes me seriously on this and I have really been in some dark moods lately. I was never this weak or sickly. I am stuck in my apartment and am unable to do so much, especially because of my body overheating and severe hot flashes/sweats. I am desperate to get off of the Omeprazole and have my life back.

I tried Prilosec on a doctor’s recommendation, but it made me so weak I couldn’t function. I was having trouble going up stairs, and my hands were so weak I could barely grip a pencil. On top of that I had anxiety attacks and dark thoughts. It was awful. And that was after taking it for only 5 days! The day after I stopped taking it I had some pretty crazy heartburn, but otherwise I felt wonderful, like I was back from the dead. I saw a GI specialist, and he said my symptoms were uncommon, but in his words, “anything is possible”. He prescribed protonix instead, and it has been so much better. Still a few mild side effects but nothing like Prilosec. So don’t let anyone tell you you’re crazy, PPIs are powerful drugs, and they can have weird side effects.

You will all think I’m crazy, but salt and vinegar chips!! I know it sounds crazy, but it works!! Also salted sunflower seeds! This may not be a long term solution health wise, but it works in a pinch!

Getting off of Prilosec was a nightmare. I was on Prevacid before going on Prilosec OTC and have been on a PPI for nearly 20 years. I tried the Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, Digestive Ease products, and Aloe Vera all to no avail. DGL did not do it either for me, and neither did Mastic Gum. I thought I was screwed for life.

It was when I went on a strict low carb diet (Protein Power was the name of the book I used) that I noticed improvements (not a cure) in my stomach. It took 3 days before the rebound happened the first time I tried quitting cold turkey. I tried quitting cold turkey several times but the burn typically would return every 2 to 3 days.

I bought a good quality pill cutter at Cutting the pill in half caused some reflux issues so I increased it where I was taking 3/4 of the tablet. I did that for 2 weeks before going to half a pill for 2 weeks. I was taking 1/4 a day pill for 2 weeks and then I started taking it every other day for 2 weeks.

I still had minor problems where sometimes I felt acid in the back of my throat or a mild stinging sensation in my stomach so I took Tagamet for about 2 weeks before weaning myself off of that gradually. It was then I started taking a bunch of other things: DGL Licorice again, Strong Probiotic, along with my low carb diet put an end to the PPI’s and it has been about two months and have not had any real problems. Sometimes I feel a slight sting in my digestive area or I think I am having acid like belch but not sure if I am not just paranoid.

I still fear that maybe I have some reflux and am experiencing damage somewhere in my esophagus without knowing or feeling it. I’ve been so dependent on Prilosec that I am instantly aware of any hint of reflux. I wish I never started that crap. I do feel good and am not aware of problems today but I became so dependent on that crap that now I fear not being on it as weird as that sounds.

I just avoid the foods I know triggers reflux even on my low carb diet. I found that I have to be careful how to mix up my foods as eating a combination of certain foods can trigger a bit of reflux. I know healthy people experience reflux from time to time but when I have a single episode of reflux is when I freak thinking that my problem never left and I will have to go back on a PPI.

If you just started a PPI then GET OFF OF IT NOW!!!


How long (total time) did id take you to get off the PPI’s after starting the low-carb diet?

Can you tell me which foods you eat and which you don’t eat?


Activated charcoal will really help anyone who is trying to ween off PPI, or really any medication, even smoking. It absorbs toxins and acid. Almost every ER in the county carries it for overdose, and to soak up chemicals in the body. You can find it pretty much every where. Please make sure it is activated charcoal you can take orally.

I am a 77-year-old man with a lifetime of stomach acid battles. I don’t even know how many years I took Omeprazole, probably around 20. I am now able to say that I have quit the drug but, boy, it was not easy. At the advice of my doctor, I began taking 150 mg Ranitidine twice a day. I quickly wished I could take three a day but stuck with the plan. I added DGL tablets just occasionally. It’s been about a month now.

I am beginning to feel like a can cut the Ranitidine to once a day pretty soon. The side effects of Omeprazole withdrawal were bothersome but not severe, just the serious reflux a few times. The one remaining negative side effect is a curious constipation which I feel I can handle with the right fibre regimen. Overall, however, is a general feeling of an improved quality of life with better sleep, more energy, and brighter mental outlook.

I have been taking protonix for almost year and need to get off of it due to kidney disease and lupus. I take the protonix due to cronic nausea driven by stomach acid. What is the best way to come off the protonix? Thank you

I have had a terrible time getting of Somac. I was spinning out for three weeks, nauseous, for 5 weeks and exhausted for 7 weeks. Acupuncture points for vertigo helped the dizziness a lot. The acid rebound was terrible. I had very little pain though because I took comfrey leaf and liquorice tea 3 times daily.This was the best thing I used.

Comfrey was listed very foolishly as a poison in Oz around the time that PPI’s were being trialed. It certainly only had good side effects for me and I was certainly not poisoned!! It has always been used in Chinese medicine. Google it and see. I have taken it for 7 weeks now and things are improving. I have only needed to use ranitidine 3 times. I also used whole milk kefir chilled with a little plain cocoa.

Pure Aloe juice is fantastic before meals and when needed. Cabbage and celery juice with a little apple is good. Also yogurt, and porridge. I rubbed chamomile, calendula and benzoin oil over the stomach and back with success. Walking and stretching to release the gas is essential, I reckon.

I do not expect the ulcer to heal while the acid is rebounding (3 months) so it is a long journey but I have only had pain when I stopped the comfrey leaf.

Hi, I have been on lansoprazole for 6 years following diagnosis of hiatus hernia. At the time, I had no idea (and have never been told) how dangerous PPIs can be. My first incline was my calcium blood levels were low. My doctor told me to eat more cheese! In fact, as this has been a complete ‘first’ for me I decided it must be something I am taking that is causing it.

I am hypothyroid, so take levothyroxine but I knew it wasn’t that. I have also put on quite a bit of weight lately, I have dry mouth and throat, foot cramps, facial flushing, diarrhea, etc. etc. So, I started researching the PPI.

To my horror, I discovered it can seriously deplete your nutritional needs due to the lack of stomach acid. I tackled my doctor about this last week and he said, oh you don’t need to worry about that but if stop taking the medication you could get oesophagus cancer!

I have come off them (3 days ago) and the rebound acid is a bit worrying but I am managing to control it with gaviscon 3 or 5 times a day. I know the rebound acid will eventually recede so I aim to carry on. My doctor will not be happy but it’s my body and my life!

I did considerable reading about the potentially dangerous side effects of omeprazole several months ago and decided to quit taking it, despite a long history of bad acid reflux. My solution, which is working, is to take one 150 mg ranitidine tablet each morning and to chew regular old flavored antacid tablets if the ranitidine fails to completely control the reflux symptoms.

This combination has been working for me. Another observation is that while taking omeprazole, I frequently had bouts of diarrhea. Since giving up the omeprazole, that unpleasant side effect has ended..

I have been taking omeperazole for a little over a year and a half. I’ve tried 3 other times to wean off. I got horrible rebound reflux and I got a bad pain in my chest. So I went back on them. I had to get off of them for a week due to testing. I am currently on day 5 I have experienced very little reflux. Things I have done this time that I think have helped.

Lost 5% of my weight, so far. I have cut out all high fat foods, breads, sugars and high sugar fruits along with dairy. I chew my food very well and eat slowly. I do not want to reatun to tje ppi’s so I will do my best to eat gut healing foods and aboid all acidic foods. I hope this helps you. I am very happy that it’s been easier than I thought. I am praying this does not ever backfire on me. I am taking it one day at a time.

I got off the Prilosec I was taking for several years with apple cider vinegar. You have to buy it from a health food store – the organic, raw and unfiltered product. I buy Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar and it works great. I mixed a tablespoon in a glass of warm water and squirt in a little honey and stirred it each day for about a year. Also, please remember to drink it from a straw as it contains a lot of acid that could ruin your teeth. Whenever my stomach hurts or I have heartburn, I
mix my “potion” up and drink it and all is calm.

Thank You, please reshare this tip over and over again. Apple Cider Vinegar and DGL were the best for me.

I have been on 80 mg (two 40mg capsules) of Prilosec for 2 yrs for really bad GERD , gastritis, and small hiatal hernia. I tried once to stop taking the Prilosec but the rebound effect was awful. This time, I am substituting one of the 40 mg caps with 1 T apple cider vinegar in water. I’ve done this for 1 month now and now have almost no heartburn at all. My next move is to reduce the 40 mg to every other day but keep the vinegar going every day. Eventually I should be able to stop the Prilosec altogether.

You will Gina. I can’t tell you how much the Apple Cider Vinegar works. It is so impressive. What also helped were Deglyccerated Licorice in the off times

Do you still feel ok?
I’m trying to wean off omeprazol…
Can I start taking the vinegar one day and the omeprazol the second… until I can get rid of the PPI for ever?

I have taken PPI’s for about fifteen years. My problem is a “good size” hiatal hernia.The only alternative is surgery, and at my age of 79 I do not want to risk that. If I miss one dose of the omeprazole my stomach hurts and I get a big gush of acid at night which will awaken me. All the reports of the negative side effects concern me, but what am I to do. Any suggestions? Thanks.

Millie, I am not a person that believes in natural cures, but I found it most impressive. Apple Cider Vinegar, after a tapering off Omeprazole may just be what you need. Millie this may turn you off, I had it so bad it was one of the reasons I became a heroin addict, who has 9 years clean now. When I was growing up, I just never felt well, took the easy road but now I am really trying to get as healthy as possible. First week, 3/4 of a prilosec, second week 1/2 (entering in some ACV), 3rd week 1/4 (table spoon in the afternoon), and then enter some deglycyrrized licorice. God Bless.

I take two papaya tablets (Now Brand) after lunch and dinner and at bedtime and it has kept me from needing to take Nexium. Yes, it was hard getting off but well worth it.

Absolutely. I have always had chronic illness due to a rough lifestyle, but getting off of PPI’s was one of my proudest moments

I had been on Prevacid since 2001 and really wanted off. I was able to use ideas from this newsletter to help. When I decided to take the leap, I continued the Prevacid but also drank a glass of water with 2 tbs of apple cider vinegar in the morning. After a week, I continued with the vinegar water and took Prevacid every other day. After another week, I eliminated the Prevacid completely but still drank the vinegar water each morning. The following week, I decreased the vinegar to 1 tbs with water. Finally, after 4 weeks, I stopped drinking the vinegar altogether. I have had no heartburn. Hopefully, this helps someone.

Turmeric clears up heartburn quickly and effectively. It is available in capsule form. It may work for withdrawal from PPI medication.

Get turmeric that has pepper added. It is more easily absorbed by the body.
This has an amazing reputation for better health over all.

I did it! I am off the PPIs. I did exactly what you have in your colum. First I broke the Omeprazole in half. I did that for 2 weeks and just took Pepsi complete if needed. Then i took the halves every other day. Its works the same as any other medicine you need to stop taking after years of dependency. Itwasn’t hard. I had some reflux but not too bad. The Pepsi Complete is a chewable and also has magnesium in it.
I am proud of myself because I was dreading it but it worked.

I read you are not to break the pills in half under any circumstance if not scored, and none are scored. I suppose they aren’t equally distributed if not scored? I’d try but don’t think it’s advised to do. At least that’s what the pharmacist told me. I’m down to 10 mg pantaprozole from 40 mg a day and can’t seem to get off 10 without burning. Ideas?

No one can answer this question, I have been taking ppi’s for over 10 years for barretts Esaphagus . Is it possible to get off of them, my last endoscopy the Barrett’s was barely seen.

I doubt you can do it without taking something else. I have been told to get a juicer (not a blender) and juice fresh ginger juice. Keep it in the fridge and drink one teaspoon of it every morning.

I am going to try this. The other thing I do is take gaviscon when I need it. I suspect I may have Barrett’s but I don’t really want to go through another endoscopy to be honest. They just told me I have HH 6 years ago.

I didn’t think it was possible , but thanks to you for all the Peoples recommendations I came up with a solution to stop taking Omeprazole. I started cutting down to every 4 days. Then I used many different tricks to combat my reflux. I chew deglygerinezed licorice before eating. At night, I will take 1/4 tsp baking soda in 1/4 glass of water for immediate relief. Also, 1 tsp. of yellow mustard works immediately for me. Also swallowing saliva in an immediate cure. I try to eat low fat and low sugar . It has been about 8 wks since I have taken Omeprazole.

I have the same thing, and my doctor told me 3 years ago I can stop taking prilosec, but I would have to take Pepcid or Zantac instead. He has since retired, and he never told me how to get off of Prilosec. I have tried so many times and I always end up going back on it as I get such awful heartburn if I don’t. I’m really going to try harder as I really want to quit taking Prilosec! I feel like a drug addict!!

The FDA also approved aspartame and I am sure that they must have knew it was a clastogen that can cause aberrations to chromosomes through the phenylketonuria pathway that damages microcephalin genes which encompass BRCT domains one of the leading causes of female breast cancer

the majority of acid reflex has to do with being overweight. Also lay off alcoholic beverages.

I am not overweight and never have been. I’m 5′ 2″ and weigh 114. My doctor doesn’t want me to drop a pound. I am 53 and have fought acid since a teenager.

Luis, not all acid reflux people are overweight, so don’t assume.

I was on Protonix for a few years – the big guns! I knew it was adding to my Osteoporosis but I couldn’t go off without terrible reactions. Until I found an article about something natural called Aloe Cure. I ordered it and took it along with the Protonix for a couple of weeks until I got weened off the drug. After just two months I found that I didn’t even need the Aloe Cure anymore. Apparently, it healed my issue and now – a year later I have had no problems, whatsoever. It was the first time in years that I didn’t have to take a PPI of some sort. I swear by the Aloe Cure and have friends who have now experienced the same. Stop trying to end the acid and heal what’s really wrong in the first place!

What is Aloe Cure??

Kathleen, I saw several products called Aloe Cure. Did you take the liquid or capsules. Do you still take it? Can you be more specific about your dosage and type? Cindy

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