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Acid Reflux / GERD Message Board


Acid Reflux / GERD Board Index


Hi, everyone, I just found this thread, and I can't believe I didn't realize what I was putting in my body for the last few years. I was diagnosed with acid reflux 5 years ago, and was put on ranitidine (Zantac) for a month. After the month was up, my symptoms returned. I was prescribed with another month (higher dose) with the doctor suggesting I move to omeprazole (Prilosec) if the ranitidine didn't work. The ranitidine didn't work again, but i continued to take it and stopped going to the doctor since she had mentioned the drug was OTC, and I could self-prescribe.

About 2 years ago, I switched to omeprazole when it started being available OTC because I'd had to continue to increase my ranitidine dosage while also taking Tums every few days. I've now been taking omeprazole for 2 years without supplementing calcium!!! :eek:

I do no eat fatty/acidy foods and am a healthy eater, but I do drink coffee daily. I started looking online for alternate treatments because my acid reflux seems to be worsening lately. I wasn't sure what could be causing the increased acid, but I don't like taking omeprazole anyway because I feel like the food I eat sits in my stomach without being digested fully.

I am in my early 30s, and I realize I need to find an alternative to the omeprazole, but, like everyone else who has posted, everything else I have tried has been without success (ranitidine not being strong enough even with healthy eating). I actually recently had a spinal x-ray at the chiropractor due to some back pain, and the chiro said I had phase 1 spinal decay and this usually doesn't show up in someone as young as I am. I'm wondering now if it's the omeprazole! :(:(:(:eek::eek::eek:

Has anyone tried an alkaline diet < edited >? Does anyone have any advice for how I could start weaning myself off of omeprazole? I think I'm going to buy Aloe Vera juice and DGL tablets and start eating alkaline, but should I just go cold turkey with the omeprazole - maybe switch it to a high dose of ranitidine (I tried making this switch last year with no success, felt nauseated all the time and had a lot of acid reflux)?
[QUOTE=seebrown;4217766]Hi, everyone, I just found this thread, and I can't believe I didn't realize what I was putting in my body for the last few years. I was diagnosed with acid reflux 5 years ago, and was put on ranitidine (Zantac) for a month. After the month was up, my symptoms returned. I was prescribed with another month (higher dose) with the doctor suggesting I move to omeprazole (Prilosec) if the ranitidine didn't work. The ranitidine didn't work again, but i continued to take it and stopped going to the doctor since she had mentioned the drug was OTC, and I could self-prescribe.

About 2 years ago, I switched to omeprazole when it started being available OTC because I'd had to continue to increase my ranitidine dosage while also taking Tums every few days. I've now been taking omeprazole for 2 years without supplementing calcium!!! :eek:

I do no eat fatty/acidy foods and am a healthy eater, but I do drink coffee daily. I started looking online for alternate treatments because my acid reflux seems to be worsening lately. I wasn't sure what could be causing the increased acid, but I don't like taking omeprazole anyway because I feel like the food I eat sits in my stomach without being digested fully.

I am in my early 30s, and I realize I need to find an alternative to the omeprazole, but, like everyone else who has posted, everything else I have tried has been without success (ranitidine not being strong enough even with healthy eating). I actually recently had a spinal x-ray at the chiropractor due to some back pain, and the chiro said I had phase 1 spinal decay and this usually doesn't show up in someone as young as I am. I'm wondering now if it's the omeprazole! :(:(:(:eek::eek::eek:

Has anyone tried an alkaline diet < edited >? Does anyone have any advice for how I could start weaning myself off of omeprazole? I think I'm going to buy Aloe Vera juice and DGL tablets and start eating alkaline, but should I just go cold turkey with the omeprazole - maybe switch it to a high dose of ranitidine (I tried making this switch last year with no success, felt nauseated all the time and had a lot of acid reflux)?[/QUOTE]

I think the consensus is to NOT get off the PPI's cold turkey. I almost did that and have suffered a lot. I tapered off a bit and then went from the PPI to Zantac and experienced a heck of a rebound.

I have good days and bad days on Zantac. I don't know at this point how much of what I am experiencing is still rebound and how much is just my GERD. I have experienced nausea and heartburn today on and off on the same dose of Zantac (150 mg twice a day) after three or four pretty good days.

I am like you. All the natural remedies seem to help a bit, but do not seem to have the same impact they do on others. I have tried aloe juice and capsules, orange peel extract capsules, cutting carbs, taking DGL, etc. with limited success. I read all the different posts about using probiotics and then feel frustrated when I am throwing everything and the kitchen sink at my heartburn and it seems to have a mind of its own. I now follow a pretty predictable diet of foods that typically do not produce reflux for me and I still have days of pronounced heartburn regardless of what I eat.

I frankly still don't know if I'll be able to make the permanent switch to Zantac or I'll have to return to the PPI eventually. I don't mind followig a strict diet and I no longer drink coffee or alcohol and I still experience symptoms. Therefore, it is frustrating.

I am on my second month off PPI's and I said I am going to give it three months before I decide whether I can stay off the medicine or will have to return to the PPI.

My suggestion to you would be to cut off the coffee to see if that has any impact on your symptoms and start cutting back on the Omeprazole very slowly and gradually. Going cold turkey is probably going to be painful and not effective if in the end it forces you to go back on the PPI.

I will keep posting here until I finish my three month experiment and make my decision to stay off the PPI or go back on it. I would like the other members who are struggling with this to know the eventual outcome of my situation.
At this point, it appears that I can have two-three good days and one day of reflux and heartburn regardless of what I eat or don't eat and in spite of using Zantac. If that is the course of this disorder for me, I will then eventually have to decide whether I will continue to live with these symptoms or go back to the PPI.

As you know from reading these posts is that what got me to quit the PPI was the discovery that I had developed osteopenia in both hips after two years of using Aciphex. The Aciphex worked great, only I did not know it was not allowing my body to absorb calcium.

But please, do not go off Omeprazole cold turkey. I think that is the one mistake I made and others have also posted about that in here through the years.

Rose
Hello Rose,

I wanted to thank you for your detailed posts and I do appreciate the fact that you are following this through until the end so that other members can find out the outcome after a period of time, rather than just at the beginning of their journey.

I have been taking Nexium for almost 3 years, 40mg 1 x day. It worked very well for my heartburn. I had been thinking about trying to stop taking it as I don't like to take medicines indefinately if there is a way to treat otherwise. So I started googling about stopping Nexium and I could not believe some of the information I found. I had several side effects that I thought were a result of other issues. I suffered anxiety a few years ago and have that very much under control. However, I learned through that process that your body can react to stress and have physical symptoms. I thought that was what was happening to me until I read some of this information. I had one trip to the ER last summer due to swelling and of course, they came up with nothing.
I also had not been supplementing with calcium.

The side effects I have had over the past 18 months include:
-tingling in hands and feet
-extreme swelling in legs and ankles
-muscle spasms
-eye twitching
-skin eruptions
-joint pain
-nerve damage

I decided to stop the Nexium cold turkey (which I may not have done if I had read all of your information first). Today is day 21.

I have been using Tums and have taken Zantac 150mg as needed. I have had raging heartburn at times, felt quite nautious, exhausted and some sour taste in the morning in my mouth. At this point in time, I would just like to feel better. Every day I feel I am walking on eggshells in terms of how I am going to feel.

I am confident I made the right choice to come off the Nexium. I would also like to have 6 - 8 weeks of this under my belt before I discuss with my doctor (although I know he will say I should have discussed it with him first).

How do you know if it is rebound or reflux? Are you having futher tests done?

Thank you again for your commitment to this and I look forward to your continued progress.
[QUOTE=LMF123;4224113]Hello Rose,

I wanted to thank you for your detailed posts and I do appreciate the fact that you are following this through until the end so that other members can find out the outcome after a period of time, rather than just at the beginning of their journey.

I have been taking Nexium for almost 3 years, 40mg 1 x day. It worked very well for my heartburn. I had been thinking about trying to stop taking it as I don't like to take medicines indefinately if there is a way to treat otherwise. So I started googling about stopping Nexium and I could not believe some of the information I found. I had several side effects that I thought were a result of other issues. I suffered anxiety a few years ago and have that very much under control. However, I learned through that process that your body can react to stress and have physical symptoms. I thought that was what was happening to me until I read some of this information. I had one trip to the ER last summer due to swelling and of course, they came up with nothing.
I also had not been supplementing with calcium.

The side effects I have had over the past 18 months include:
-tingling in hands and feet
-extreme swelling in legs and ankles
-muscle spasms
-eye twitching
-skin eruptions
-joint pain
-nerve damage

I decided to stop the Nexium cold turkey (which I may not have done if I had read all of your information first). Today is day 21.

I have been using Tums and have taken Zantac 150mg as needed. I have had raging heartburn at times, felt quite nautious, exhausted and some sour taste in the morning in my mouth. At this point in time, I would just like to feel better. Every day I feel I am walking on eggshells in terms of how I am going to feel.

I am confident I made the right choice to come off the Nexium. I would also like to have 6 - 8 weeks of this under my belt before I discuss with my doctor (although I know he will say I should have discussed it with him first).

How do you know if it is rebound or reflux? Are you having futher tests done?

Thank you again for your commitment to this and I look forward to your continued progress.[/QUOTE]

I, too am experiencing what I think are side effects of Aciphex. I have been taking it for 8 years. The beginning of this year I did my little "cold turkey experiment" and although it was bearable I felt like I may have been doing myself harm. So I went on Omeprazole (due to insurance wanting a cheaper alternative) and that didn't seem to work. Although, thinking back I think it did. Anyway, my GP got my insurance to fill the Aciphex and now I'm back on it. So I was off Aciphex for about 6 weeks and a week or two after I went back on it, I started getting these muscle spasms/cramps/twitches....whatever they are. They are mostly in my abdominal region however I have little spasms in my upper thigh at times. They are not constant and some days I really don't have them. Yesterday I took Zantac instead and didn't have them. I really didn't have them all the years I was on it but I did have headaches more. I am going to see a new Gastro and explain everything and hope I can beat this thing.
Hi Flyer,

What do you mean by you were afraid you were doing more harm than good?
I am concerned that having heartburn every day is not good for me. I am just not sure how long I should give it to "settle down". I am not taking the Zantac every day. The last two days I have just used Tums as the heartburn occurs. The heartburn seems to come after anything I eat, despite what I eat.

When is your GI appointment? I am still certain I am doing the right thing as when I look back at how many side effects I had, it is almost alarming. I just don't know what the alternative will be if the rebound doesn't settle down and I don't want to go onto PPI's.

Have a great day.
[QUOTE=LMF123;4224787]Hi Flyer,

What do you mean by you were afraid you were doing more harm than good?
I am concerned that having heartburn every day is not good for me. I am just not sure how long I should give it to "settle down". I am not taking the Zantac every day. The last two days I have just used Tums as the heartburn occurs. The heartburn seems to come after anything I eat, despite what I eat.

When is your GI appointment? I am still certain I am doing the right thing as when I look back at how many side effects I had, it is almost alarming. I just don't know what the alternative will be if the rebound doesn't settle down and I don't want to go onto PPI's.

Have a great day.[/QUOTE]

Since I didn't consult with a doctor prior I, too felt it was not good to have the heartburn every day like that. I have a GI appt in 3 weeks. I haven't seen one in about 8 years and they have since moved their practice farther away so this is a new doc for me. I'm interested to see what his stand is on getting off these blasted drugs.

Today I didn't take the Aciphex, only Zantac and had little, if any of the side effects I mentioned. I'm going to try again tomorrow and see how it goes. Taking it day by day right now.
[QUOTE=LMF123;4226248]Hi everyone,

Well I tried something different for me this morning. I am at 3 1/2 weeks off Nexium and have been treating with Tums/Gaviscon and occassionally Zantac. When the heartburn hits, it is absolutely dreadful. Pain in my esophagus and awful burning. I can see how people just go back on the PPI's because if I had to live this way indefinately, I would be miserable.

This morning I took a Zantac 150mg on an empty stomach. So far so good. Perhaps I need to do that until things settle down. There are so many unknowns, it just seems like a game we are guessing at what is the right and wrong thing to do.

I do know that I had considerable physical side effects and I have to find a way to stay off the PPI's.


Hi LMF:

I am so glad you brought up the point about taking Zantac on an empty stomach. I meant to post about this, but I had completely forgotten about it it until you mentioned it in this post.

When I take the Zantac first thing in the morning with water and wait thirty or so minutes before I eat anything else, the Zantac seems to be absorbed and work better all day. When I am in a rush and take the Zantac along with all my other vitamins and breakfast, it seems to either not work or not work as well. It took me a while to figure this out but I have seen a definite pattern. I now take Zantac with water first thing in the morning, take my shower and when I get out of the shower and dry my hair, then I go and take my vitamins with almond milk and whole grain toast. That seems to work reasonably well or work perhaps ninety percent of the time.

I now have to go back and pay closer attention to see if any future "bad" days correlate with a day when I was in a rush and could not give the Zantac the chance to be absorbed by my stomach before I took a bunch of other competing stuff along with it.

Maybe this information will help others who are also using the H2 blockers instead of the PPI. When I took Aciphex, I could take it any time, with or without food. Before that, when I took Zegerid, I had to take it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and wait thirty minutes before I could eat anything else.

I don't know if others see a correlation between how they take their medicine and its effect.

I am still hanging in there. I had another decent day today. I did not notice any heartburn all day and did not find myself thinking about it either, which is a nice break.

I could not have stayed off the Aciphex without some other type of medication to ease the rebound. The heartburn was so bad the first two-three weeks that I would have gone back running to the Aciphex. It was worse than anything I experienced before I began to take the PPI. This is why I am now trying so hard to stay off the Aciphex and continue taking milder/older medications like Zantac.

Rose
Good morning,

Such great information on here. It is giving me the strength to continue with this because let me tell you, it would be easier to run back to the Nexium.

Rose, I am so glad to hear that things are settling down for you. I did end up taking a few tums late yesterday afternoon but taking the Zantac on an empty stomach seemed to be more effective in that I made it to late in the day before I had any discomfort. Yes I still had some heartburn but I am still less than a month off the Nexium.

I have a couple of questions also Rose. Do you know if there is a difference between the OTC Zantac and the prescription? Have you noticed or read any long term side effects of Zantac? Does your Doctor know you are making this transition and at what point would you have another clinical test to see how you are doing?

I am experiencing headaches but again I don't know if it is the Zantac or just my body adjusting.

Thanks again for all the useful information.
[QUOTE=LMF123;4226913]Good morning,

Such great information on here. It is giving me the strength to continue with this because let me tell you, it would be easier to run back to the Nexium.

Rose, I am so glad to hear that things are settling down for you. I did end up taking a few tums late yesterday afternoon but taking the Zantac on an empty stomach seemed to be more effective in that I made it to late in the day before I had any discomfort. Yes I still had some heartburn but I am still less than a month off the Nexium.

I have a couple of questions also Rose. Do you know if there is a difference between the OTC Zantac and the prescription? Have you noticed or read any long term side effects of Zantac? Does your Doctor know you are making this transition and at what point would you have another clinical test to see how you are doing?

I am experiencing headaches but again I don't know if it is the Zantac or just my body adjusting.

Thanks again for all the useful information.[/QUOTE]

My understanding is that prescription Zantac comes in either 150 mg or 300 mg doses. One of the OTC Zantac is now 150 mg. That is what I take. I am not sure there is much more of a difference beyond that.

I am prone to develop headaches and I think both the Aciphex and Zantac probably contribute to them.

Zantac has been around for a long, long time (over twenty five years) and I have not read of serious side effects like the increase in stomach tumors and hip fractures that you read about in some studies on PPI use. However, I am sure all medicines have side effects.

I make sure to take Zantac on an empty stomach and wait thirty minutes before I eat or drink anything else. I want to give it a chance for my body to absorb the medication.

I have found Zantac a bit constipating. But it is a histamine blocker and I get the same effect from Benadryl which is a different type of histamine blocker. I drink prune juice and take fiber tablets almost daily which help for that. Not too glamorous but it works and keeps me from using laxatives which is not a good thing to use regularly.

I am sure I will follow up with a gastro doctor sometime in the future and probably have another endoscopy. But I would have done that even if I had stayed on the Aciphex. I think those of us who suffer from these symptoms should probably be scoped once every five years even in the absence of symptoms. You can have damage and not feel heartburn.

Rose





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