PPI Stepdown

I’ve been on PPIs (Nexium, esomeprazole) since my VSG surgery in 2016. My four year anniversary is coming up and I really don’t want to continue on PPIs. They are prescribed liberally and people are on them for YEARS, just like me, but now we’re starting to see some of the longterm problems of taking a PPI (Proton Pump Inhibitor) such as H Pylori, malabsorption of minerals and even kidney damage. This article is a good round up of all that PPIs can damage. You can’t just stop taking a PPI because of rebound GERD that is worse than the original. The proton pumps (digestive acid) go into overdrive without the inhibitor – which is what’s happened the last two times I attempted to get off PPIs.

I’ve been having more and more issues with the PPI in the last year. I started having intense histamine reactions to random foods a few months ago, so I found a histamine blocker (Seeking Health Histamine Block is AWESOME!) that worked. I had to take it daily to keep the reactions from happening. When I researched it, guess what was the culprit? Yep. PPI.

Next, I started having leg cramps. I know that PPIs retard mineral absorption, and after some research, I confirmed that the PPI was likely interfering with potassium as well as calcium and magnesium. So I got a potassium supplement.

THEN, I realised that the list of things I was taking to OFFSET the damn PPI was getting longer and longer. It made no sense to keep adding more and more supplements to offset a drug that has known issues for long term use.

So, I began my step down from 1.5 tablets a day (1 20mg in the morning and a half tab before bed; 30mg/day) about six weeks ago. First I moved the time I took the single pill to evenings so it would peak while I am asleep. Breakthrough GERD is worse at night when you’re laying down. I dropped the second dose entirely. This worked pretty well, there were random bouts of GERD at random times, but it was OK for the most part.

Last week, I changed to half a tab at 9pm ONLY. So far, so good. I still have random bouts of GERD that have no pattern. I can chew a few TUMS to tame them down. I have a bed wedge, which has helped with the occasional night time breakthrough GERD. But it’s the same as the one dose was, so I’m encouraged.

I’ll stick with the half tab for a few more weeks, then I’ll attempt ZERO PPI. It’ll work or it won’t. I’m hopeful that it will work and I can get by with random bouts of GERD that can be handled with TUMS. Or perhaps I can go back to an H2 blocker (Tagamet, etc.) at night if necessary. The H2s have far fewer side effects than the PPIs.

I hope I can be rid of PPIs once and for all. They are TERRIBLE for you.

I will post again with the results of the end of PPIs.