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My Experience with Omeprazole and Acid Reflux

Updated: 1 day ago

Let’s talk about acid reflux, indigestion, and the general OTC and prescription medications associated with it.

I’ve had a standing omeprazole prescription with my primary care for years. I never left home without it and I always had Tums or the generic equivalent on hand, in my truck, my backpack, office drawer, and nightstand. Always.

One day I was out and about doing my thing, and it happened. The all too familiar burning started , and I didn’t have my GI meds. I was boarding a plane to an overseas location, and so I just popped into the airport gift shop and picked up some Prilosec. It’s listed as OTC Omeprazole.

As I sat on the plane for… forever, I did the unthinkable. I actually read the packaging. You know… all those pages of stuff that I’ve never read before. I mean… I had HOURS to do nothing.

If you know anything about Omeprazole’s recommended dosage, then you can imagine my surprise.

One 20 mg pill, once a day, for a 14 day battery, once every 4 months. That’s at total of 14 pills within a 120 day period.

My prescription… 2 of the 20mg pills everyday… forever. So I did the math. I was going to be away from home for a week, and this box was only enough to get me through a single week. That’s when it hit me. My “weekly” dosage was equal to the recommended 4 months dose. 7 days… versus 120 days. That’s weird.

So that led me into a rabbit hole of fun. What are the side effects of long-term use. I recommend you go to the manufacturer’s site, the Mayo Clinic site, and the site to do some of your own research. Many of the side effects were things that I was battling.

  • general soreness

  • Tiredness

  • Weakness

  • Aches and pains in my back, legs, hips, and core.

There’s a lot, so take a moment and do some drilling for yourself.

So what did I do?

I first clicked on a lot of conspiracy type sites that had information and claims around long-term dosing for it. Once again… do your own due diligence here, but let it suffice when I say that I couldn’t find a single longitudinal study to clear up what happens if I take 2 pills a day… for the rest of my life. I’ll let you follow that bit of fun.

For me, I decided to take a closer look at my causes and triggers that were leading me to pop the pills or tap the tums.

Maybe I controlled this? Whaaaaaaat? Turns out my number one trigger was caffeine use. I can down some Mountain Dew, and my Keurig was popping through the k cups to the point that I bought the refillable ones. I slashed it. Once the headaches stopped, my acid reflux occurrences went waaaaaaaaaaaay waaaaaay down. I still occasionally get a Mountain Dew, but I mix it 50% with sprite or ginger ale. It tastes essentially be same.

My number two trigger was my job. Yep. It paid well and offered a sense of prestige, but longterm… was it worth throat cancer due to recurring GI reflux, a lifetime of living with the documented side effects, or some of the stuff on the conspiracy sites? Nope. Not at all.

So is Omeprazole a “bad drug?” Nope. I’m not saying that at all. It has its place to help you out when you need it to get a massive flare up. So taking it as directed by the people who did the actual FDA research to get it approved is probably a safe bet.

Is taking it at the duration and dosage that my primary care team offered me a great idea? That’s for you to decide. For me, I decided that it wasn’t a lifestyle and lifelong drug option that I am comfortable with.

Now that I’m firmly settled in my choice to take control of my health, I haven’t reached for anything in a loooong time. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zip.

What I’ve learned is that the choice is mine. It has always been my choice.

And my outlook for my life is totally different now.

My advice… check your “routine” meds to see if they are causing more side effect than you actually signed up for. Trust me. What I learned is that my coffee in the morning and my Mountain Dew in the evening were not worth the aches and pains that were resulting from the medication that I took to combat the acid reflux.

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1 Comment

May 03

Although this can be true in any age group, older folks need to take a science-based look when taking multiple prescriptions. Too often the dosage is incorrect, the combination is not advisable or drugs were added to mitigate side effects of other drugs. Another way (like easy lifestyle changes as you discovered) or even a different drug without side effects that require further medication may be advisable.

Doctors are paid by drug companies to prescribe; this questionable arrangement should wake up more to self advocacy. Our healthcare provider knows that unless it's a life threatening situation, my spouse and I both take time to consider any offered/suggested drugs. In most cases we have declined as a result of closer scrutiny.

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