Getting off PPI (Omeprazole), slippery elm helped
It has been seven months since I successfully weaned myself off Omeprazole and Ranitidine (Zantac). It wasn’t easy but it can be done! I'm posting my experience because I found advice here that really helped me. Basically, I weaned myself Omeprazole, then Zantac, very gradually over two months while at the same time following a strict GERD diet.
I had been on a low dose of ranitidine (75 mg nightly) for some 15 years. I tried to get off of it a few times but suffered rebound and got discouraged. I wasn’t aware of the GERD diet at the time. After a bout of gastritis, I went on to a PPI (omeprazole 20 mg). In retrospect, my undoing was that ranitidine and omeprazole worked so well and that my doctors were not concerned that I was taking them.
I had resisted going on a PPI because I knew how difficult it was to get off of it. I made some minor adjustments to my diet, slept with a raised bed, and took antacids but eventually I had to do something about the pain and was worried about damaging my esophagus. Once my symptoms settled down, I tried to get off Omeprazole by taking one every other day, as is recommended. This failed utterly.
About 16 months later, I tried again. First I tried cutting my pills in half. Don't do this with enteric coated pills. It won't work and you will just suffer. I looked for a 10 mg dose of omeprazole but this was only available by prescription so I got one. These came in gel caps composed of white pellets. What I did was start by taking 20 mg and then every other day, I'd decrease the dose by removing a pellet.
At the same time, I radically changed my diet. Everything on the lists you read, I did. I went mainly vegetarian for a while. I ate a lot of squash on its own or in a soup, since it is a neutral food. I made sure to eat greek yogurt every day for the probiotics and for a while I found kefir to be quite soothing for my esophagus. I also switched to lactose-free milk and soy milk, as lactose was aggravating my stomach. The hardest things for many people to cut out are caffeine, alcohol and fats. Oh, and orange juice in the morning. Luckily, I was already on a low fat diet by preference and had already dropped caffeine and was never much of a drinker. I found that switching to hot water helped in cutting out coffee (including decaf) and tea.
DGL helped and in the beginning I took several a day. I tried eating papayas for the digestive enzymes and took some supplements with digestive enzymes but didn't notice any difference. What really worked for me was SLIPPERY ELM. I am not one for alternative medicine so it took a while for me to try it but when I did, the effect was miraculous. It calmed my whole system down. It comes in gelcaps, which I recommend. I also bought the powder but had a hard time getting it down. ACV, which I tried once, did not work at all for me.
The first few weeks were really difficult. Initially, I found even sitting was uncomfortable. I wonder if I would have stuck it out if I didn’t have the motivation of some other health issues that are exacerbated by PPIs (osteopenia; heart rhythm) but I can tell you that it was worth it! I now take a half of a DGL only occasionally and am off slippery elm. I mainly drink water but can tolerate a small amount of wine. I maintain a low fat diet and enjoy lots of vegetables and fruit. The best part is that I am pain free and off medication.
Last edited by Administrator; 11-10-2013 at 09:21 PM.