Proton Pump Inhibitors are one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States, and they are also sold over the counter. That means that when a new danger of these medications, like Prilosec and Nexium, is announced, it affects a very large number of people. Among the many dangers of PPIS that have been discussed previously, these medications have now been proven to double a person’s risk of kidney failure when taken long-term.
3 Steps to Stop Taking PPIs Without Rebound Heartburn
If you have been taking PPIs and want to stop, then you may have tried and experienced rebound heartburn that led to you taking the medication again. You can stop taking a PPI without rebound heartburn that is worse than when you began taking them when you do it carefully. Follow these steps if you want to kick the PPI habit for good.
Note: First Speak to Your Doctor if Your Medication is Prescribed
Advice given here will be aimed at people taking the over-the-counter version of the medications for heartburn. If your doctor prescribe daily PPI inhibitors to you to manage another health problem, then it is best to voice your concerns to him or her over the new health risks discovered and see what he or she has to say. In the end, you are in control of everything you put in your body, but your doctor can advise you about whether your benefits from taking the medication outweigh the health risks.
If you are on a high dosage of a PPI, then your doctor will have to lower your dosage gradually. Over-the-counter PPIs are typically the lowest strength of the pill available, and prescriptions can be up to triple the dosage of the OTC versions.
1. Start Alternating Your OTC PPI with a Less Dangerous OTC H2 Blocker
If you are taking an OTC PPI, then you are taking the lowest dosage made and the pills cannot be split in half. Doctors recommend alternating your PPI with an H2 Blocker (Tagamet is a popular brand) for a couple of weeks. Since the H2 blocker can typically be taken a couple of times a day, you can take one dose in the morning when you typically take your PPI and take another dose before dinner if you feel you need it.
2. After Two Weeks Start Taking Only the H2 Blocker
Once you notice that your heartburn does act up on the days you are off the PPI, it is then time to stop taking it and start taking the H2 blocker only. Like when you first added it in your life every other day, take it in the morning and then later in the day only if you feel you need the extra dose.
It is important to also limit your foods that contain acid, like tomato sauce, peppers, and any of your other personal heartburn triggers during this period. This is very important, because you don’t want to take more medication than you need to.
3. Finally Taper off the H2 Blocker
Your goal is to be heartburn medication-free, so don’t keep taking that H2 blocker every day like you did the PPI! While these medications have been around for many years and don’t seem to have as many negative side effects as PPIs, it is best to manage your heartburn naturally. Unlike PPIs that are time-released, H2 blockers can typically be split, if needed.
Gradually lower your dosage while integrating natural heartburn remedies into your daily routine, and you can then finally be free from heartburn medications!