Hi I am posting because although I have dealt with heartburn/acidreflux since I was a teen I am starting my first serious drug treatment later this morning. Recently (last 5 months) I have used quicky methods like tums to counter heartburn but the symptoms have become so constant and powerful I am going to try a 14 day stint of prilosec(over the counter). This has me worried due to my mother constantly battling acid reflux with prescriptions for years. I am wondering if 14 days is long enough to improve my health and with dietary changes if I can avoid GERD all together. Any advice/methods to reduce symptoms would be helpfull as I do not have health insurance and consulting a physician would ruin me(financially). I will try to keep my progress posted on a blog and give incites and responses here. I hope to eventually say I beat the problem.
I wish everybody the best of health and luck.
Last edited by TRR3; 05-13-2010 at 04:00 AM.
Reason: ToU compliance
Fair warning about Prilosec: Unlike antacids such as Tums or even acid reducers such as Zantac, Prilosec can cause you to become dependent on it, to need it every day. This isn't urban legend, it happened to me, it happened to many people on this board, there is real medical research supporting it. Once you've been on it a while, quitting can produce symptoms worse than you had before!
If I were you, I'd try the diet and habit changes first, then Zantac or generic ranitidine before you go the way of Prilosec. What sorts of things have you tried?
And, randalthor? One visit to a doctor might not cost that much. It's worth considering if this is that much of a problem for you.
I am going to second Jane's post with the disclaimer that I am not a medical doctor.
Because more potent drugs exist, it does not mean we should go for them first. My suggestion would be a step up program rather than a step down program, which is what I have recently gone through with great difficulty. By step up, I mean to modify your diet and try natural remedies before you go into the PPI's full force. I also second the idea of taking Zantac or Pepcid (two H2 blockers) rather than a PPI to see if they take care of your symptoms. H2 blockers are not as effective as the PPIs but they do not cause the same type of acid rebound, and may be all you need at this stage.
Even short term use of PPI's causes dependency, such as when you try to get off them, you experience a phenomenon called "acid rebound." The rebound can be worse than the original symptoms and keep you on the PPIs longterm.
PPI's are very effective, but knowing what I know now, they would never be my first line of defense against heartburn. I started a thread "Getting off PPI's and acid rebound" in January which is now closed but you may want to read through for a discussion of acid rebound and why I chose to stop taking a PPI three years later!
If you have time, please read through others' posts regarding what types of remedies and medications they have tried, and what has worked or not worked for them. For example, a lot of dairy, coffee and tomato products are bad for heartburn. There are also natural remedies that can soothe the esophagus and make heartburn more tolerable. Products like aloe vera juice and DGL help coat and soothe your esophagus and heal irritated tissues.
Become an informed consumer/patient so you can be your best advocate. Even if you go to the doctor, it is more likely than not that you will be handed a PPI prescription without any warning of potential side effects. This has happened to me on multiple occassions, and I have learned the hard way.
I have no problem with PPI's being cheaper and available OTC, but in my opinion, they should include warnings about side effects, rebound, increased risk for hip fractures after long term use (three years), etc. None of this was ever explained to me in 2006 even though much of the literature was already out there.
Thank you for all the advice and concern! I have actualy been on a lifestyle change for years, I have not had a bowl of chili since I was 16! At almost 23 the list of foods I avoid is just rediculous and I have naturaly been doing a lot to prevent the pain. It scares me that no side effects are listed on the prilosec packaging or insert. I will definently look into thing!
Thank you for your support!
One of the things I have discovered is that cutting back on certain types of food has really helped. For example, cutting back on a lot of carbohydrates like potatoes, spaghetti, has helped. Proteins and vegetables don't bother me as much, even red meat is OK to eat with moderation. A lot of refined sugar also seems to disagree with me. I can eat most fruits but oranges are a no-no. However, lemon juice does not bother me. Smaller portions throughout the day also help. Eating a lot is not good but having an empty stomach for many hours can also lead to heartburn. I chew things like raw almonds (5 or 6) at different parts of the day and that seems to calm my stomach. I also sip two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar diluted in a glass of water two to three times per day and that also seems to help. These are all different remedies and different remedies appear to work for different people. I gave up completely on caffeine (I love coffee!) and sodas. I now drink coconut juice with a little bit of lemon and drink almond milk instead of dairy. I also take calcium/magnesium/vitamin D3 supplements in liquid form (purchased them at the healthfood store). After three years on a PPI (which led to calcium depletion from my bones), I switched to Zantac (an H2 blocker) and have slowly weaned myself off those with the other remedies.
The lesson for all of us is that the newer, most potent drug is not always the best or not good for long term use, even if that is what the doctor hands you when you go in (which I bet he or she will if you go to see a regular GP).
More studies are now coming out with the conclusion that long term use of PPI's is not safe or as safe as previously thought. Therefore, I think you will be OK if you use them for a couple of weeks, but at the end you will still have to deal with the problem if you continue to have symptoms after those two weeks.
I don't believe there is a cure for acid reflux (including the PPI's). I think there are ways to manage and live with the disease or disorder long term. There are natural and medical ways to deal with it. The medications are typically more "effective" in the sense that taking a pill suppresses the acid, but you pay the price of risking long term adverse effects with prolonged use. At the end of the day, I still had to get myself off my PPI (Aciphex) and try to find alternative ways of dealing with my reflux.
Best to you,
Last edited by rosebloom; 05-15-2010 at 08:31 AM.
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