Getting off heartburn drug

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hi, I've been taking Ppis and H2 blockers since April. I came off them in June and had no ill effects for eight weeks, but then the symptoms returned. I then went back on the drugs for two weeks then cut down to half quantities. I eat a very simple diet with no triggers as far as possible and take a number of things like acididophilus, slippery elm, DGL liquorice but already the heartburn has returned, although not much as yet. Having read all the adverse publicity around  these drugs I want to get off them entirely. Any advice?

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13 Replies

  • Posted

    You are on the right track I think. I heard great reviews about dgl licorice and tried it but it didn't do much for me. But maybe because I wasnt eating the right dose. It's written on the bottle to eat 6 tablets a day but I used to eat only 2 or maximum 4 sometimes. I tried the slippery elm( again great reviews about it) but I think it was too strong for me or something or maybe that my acid reflux is way too severe that I didon't see much of a change but I have been trying to make lifestyle changes by eating less and chewing my food well and eating 6 times a day.

    Still on dexilant 60 mg. I wish you recovery and for myself too. And yes you should slowly wean them off. Wish someone would have given me this valuable advise before.

    But anyways wish you healthy recovery

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  • Posted

    Just read about something called Hydrotalcite. Anyone tried this for heartburn? This appears to be the generic name. Doesn't appear to be manufactured under a trade name
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  • Posted

    Well actually you have to go gradually. So you're on the right track. After those 8 weeks you were off the PPI, did you perhaps consume a trigger food?

    I've been on PPI for 5 years. During those years I was able to be off of them for about 9 months, which was great. At other "good" times I would take 3 pills a week or even less. Other times I'm back on full dose. Recently I've stopped them for two weeks, and I'm NOT symptom free. I'm thinking about surgery if I can't get off of them because in the past two months they've maid things worse I think. It doesn't mean you can't get off of them. You should continue trying but don't let the symptoms go very bad! It's like balancing on a rope when trying to wean them off.

    good luck

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  • Posted

    PPIs have come in for a lt of bad press. They are really very effective at doing their job - which is what can acuse problems for some.

    High doses of PPIs over the course of a few years may deplete the stomach of too much acid (called "hypocchlorhydria" ) .

    Stomach acid is required to leech essential minerals from food. Insufficient stomach acid can result in hypocalcaemia (insufficient calcium which can exacerbate osteoporosis and may need supplementation with calcium citrate (not carbonate that just further neutralises acid)), anaemia (low iron can cause fatigue), hypomagnesaemia (low magnesium which has many effects), etc. Stomach acid also acts to control bacteria so depletion can result in bacterial infections like C-Difficile.

    In America, PPIs have been avaialable readily over the counter for many years. They are the best way of controlling acid if taken correctly. That means the lowest effective dose for as short a period as required. Unfortunately, too many, finding they worked but "could do better", started taking too many for too long without medical supervision. This resulted in the FDA having to issue warnings about the possibility of PPIs resulting in bone loss, low magnesium, C-Diff etc which has given these drugs (which may be potential life savers) a bad name.

    They ara ctually amongst the safest drugs available and have been used for 30 years by millions of peopl worldwide. Some people need to take them for life. I, myself, took them for 15 years increaing to a very high dose (80mg omeprazole) and getting anaemic etc, before I had a fundoplication to reduce the reflux instead.

    The lactobacilus you're taking will help defend against harmful bacteria. The other supplements act as a demulcent soothing any inflammation and increasing mucous in the oesophagus. Many find these supplements useful but they are not effective in controlling acid.

    Acid + Bile + Reflux attacking the oesophagus can cause the (potentially) pre-cancerous condition, Barrett's Oesophagus. (Oesophageal Adenocarcinoma is the 5th most common casue of cancer death in the UK, EU and US.)

    So before you decide to stop PPIs, you should discuss this with your doctor and if yuu've been having heartburn for a while, have an endoscopy to check no permanent damage has been doe=ne to your oesophagus.

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  • Posted

    Thank you for the advice, even though its a bit depressing! Cant help thinking I  shouldnt be taking a  PPI drug and an H2 blocker. Dont they work against each other? I am seeing a homeopathic doctor too, for help but its too soon to tell if the medication is having any effect. I havent alway suffered from this so surely I can get back to where I was ie. short flare ups of heartburn every year or so, lasting no more than a week?

    Ive read about the theory that heartburn is caused by too little acid, in which case these pills are doing more harm than good. My doctor thinks this is a flawed theory, however. There seems to be so many contradictory theories around this horrible illness that so many people suffer with that its about time someone came up with facts.

    My medication makes me feel tired and down hearted so I really need to seek alternatives.

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    • Posted

      It's quite common to take your PPI in the morning to be most effective whilst you are active and an H2 blocker at night to reduce acidity in any reflux whilst your body is at rest.

      Many "natural health" advocates promote the idea of reflux being caused by too little acid as a way of trying to say their remedies are better than the drug which has been tried and tested. It came from a paper published a few years ago and, as your doctor has said, the research may be flawed.

      If your problem is only acid reflux, by changing lifestyle and diet, it may be possible to get it under control within a few weeks on PPIs. However, if dmage has been done (ie Barrett's) it is not possible to cure it (apart from ablation therapy if it becomes dysplastic).

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your advise. Even I was very scared about using ppis and H2 blockers and I have been using them since about 3 years and I wanted to ask someone who has been taking them for a long time if they were ok with it. I feel relieved to know that I can still be on them. Because in my case I think I will have to be taking them for a very long time because my reflux is very severe.

      I also wanted to ask you if you are completely cured after your surgery?

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    • Posted

      I still have Barrett's. My surgery was to reduce reflux, which it has done.

      To cure Barrett's, I would have needed ablation therapy but since my Barrett's is non-dysplastic, it's not worth it.

      But as far as needing PPIs goes, I'm totally off them.

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    • Posted

      Oh I am happy your are off the ppis. But at the same time I thought that barrets can be cured by just a stronger dose of 2 or more ppis. How come you still have it.

      And did you ever have light headedness and a tingling in the head with a burning sensation?I am experiencing it very often now and it's making me worried. My gastro said that it's not connected to acidity but I am sure it is ,because in so many other forums I read that acidity caused them ear infections.

      I hope that you get rid of barrets too.

      Best wishes

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    • Posted

      Barrett's cannot be cured (although at least one snake-oil charlatan will charge you $29.95 to download a pdf file to say that it can).

      It is a permanent change from squamous cells to columnar cells as a protection to the body. The columnar cells do, rarely, have the ability to mutate through dysplasia to cancer but cannot disappear to be replaced by squamous.

      The columnar cells can be removed by ablation therapy but unless there's dysplasia, it's not worth it. The risks of progression are low and whatever caused your Barrett's initially is still present so it could form again. So those who have ablation require continuation of PPIs and surveillance.

      There are cases where people think their Barrett's has gone but it's because the endoscopist hasn't seen it. It can be hidden in the corrugations of the mucosa or a new epithelial layer can form over it.

      There are very many symptoms associated with reflux. If you find the Down With Acid site you'll find a chapter on extra-oesophageal reflux that includes the results of a survey conducted last year into the most common. And yes, ear problems are amongst them.

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  • Posted

    Hillary have you ever thought about alkaline water, enzymes, slippery elm, apple cider vinegar. There just are dozens of options. Lots of good info on JPT's Facebook page (very long page!)
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    • Posted

      Supplementary therapies may offer some relief (without tackling the cause). But don't waste your money on alkaline water. It's been revealed as a big con by the vendors.

      It does as much to reduce stomach acid as pouring a kettle of hot water into the sea. Furthermore some research has shown it can actually be dangerous.

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