Getting off Nexium: Yet another success story?

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Peter Olvadt
New Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 11/1/2011 10:02 PM (GMT -6)   
I had been on Nexium for 6 years now (until 12 Oct 2011) and I think I am at the verge of successfully coming out of the "acid rebound" after stopping Nexium. I am posting my story so that it gives yet another case of acid rebound and I hope it gives hope to many more people who are trying to stop Nexium!

I am a 33 year old male. I do not exactly recall when my acid reflux symptoms started; but it must be somewhere around 7 - 8 years ago. Initially I did not even know that the disease I was suffering from was called 'acidity', I ignored it and my reflux became more and more severe up to a point where I would wake up in the night because of it. Finally in 2005 I went to a GI who did endoscopy and diagnosed me with "reflux esophagitis - grade B" and a sliding hiatus hernia. I had a couple of ulcers in the lower esophagus.

So he put me on Nexium 20 mg, once a day. I had immediate relief of symptoms the day I started taking them. I clearly remember the doctor saying "I am going to put you on some drugs, which are really no drugs at all". I was indeed happy that such a 'mild drug' is keeping me symptom free. I did not do any research on Nexium back then and without worrying a bit I devoured them for a couple of months (which spanned quite a few follow-ups to the GI). Finally I guess at the end of the year the doctor told me to stop them. I was happy, I stopped them, but the reflux was back on the second day! I went back on them, told the doctor what happened when I met him next. He told me to try taking them every other day, but that would not work either (on retrospect, now I know that I was having severe acid rebound, but I did not know it back then). I duly reported this. At this point I think the doctor started looking elsewhere. When the therapy started I was about 154 lbs (which gave me a perfect BMI), and at the point where I was trying to stop Nexium (an year later that is) I was 165 lbs. The doctor started telling me that he could not help me unless shed some pounds. I tried a few things to reduce weight, nothing worked and I stopped seeing this GI and thus Nexium became a part of my staple diet!

Around an year later something got unto me and I suddenly thought about reducing the dosage. I tried with half a tablet a day. A couple of days were slightly rough in the beginning but then I was fine. So now I had no reflux by taking Nexium 10 mg everyday. This was certainly encouraging -- I was doing better. After a month I tried to stop Nexium again. But then reflux kicked in the second day and I was back on Nexium the third day. I was still unaware of the phenomenon of acid rebound. During this period, I started to develop occasional sore throat -- my uvula would swell slightly. I went to an ENT doctor for this, but he said that it was because of my acidity and prescribed some ranitidine. So I was going nowhere.

about 2 years back I reduced Nexium dosage further down to 5 mg a day by cutting a tablet into 4 pieces. Again I did fine after a couple of rough days, although often I used to feel a mild reflux when I woke up in the morning. Also my sore throat episodes were more frequent and uvula swelling became almost an every-other-day affair.

All these years, my weight was on a constant uphill, I went upto 185 lbs. In the beginning of this year, things started to change when it dawned on me that I could reduce weight by controlling food! I started to eat food that was very less in fat and sugar. I slowly started shedding weight. I must say that the kind of food I used to take helped me both to reduce weight and avoid acid reflux. I noticed that the mild refluxe episodes I used to get in the morning also vanished. Hopeful that now I will definitely do fine by stopping Nexium, I tried again but failed, just like before! Then I started to get a little desperate.

Upto that point, I had not done any serious research on the internet about Nexium. Also, my uvula swelling was getting worse and I used to feel bloated all through the day. When I did research on Nexium, a big list of side effects popped up -- malabsorption of vitamins, hip fracture etc. And I also learned about the elevated serum gastrin levels and the resulting "acid rebound". It was scary to read about the side effects but at the same time so relieving to read about acid rebound. It was also relieving to see that so many people had been on Nexium for years on end and many people had experienced what I went through trying to stop the drug and I had new hope. But before I try to stop Nexium again, I decided to get an upper GI endoscopy. Everything was fine, my hiatus hernia had also vanished, but there was some "hyperplastic polyp" in my antrum (the part that connects duodenum to the stomach). Further research on the internet revealed that PPI usage leads to these also!

I decided that I have to stop Nexium at any cost. Armed with all the information from the internet and a hope that I will be finally do without Nexium, I took my last Nexium 5 mg on 12th Oct 2011. As I had seen in many places, in the days that followed I took ranitidine 150 mg twice a day. These were not enough in the beginning and I used to take Tumms, DGL, ACV, and some buttermilk whenever I felt the rebound. The initial days were not too horrible, they were moderate. Whenever I used to feel the acid reflux, I was not sure whether it is the "rebound effect" or it was still the disease. However, I got better day by day. The uvula swelling vanished almost two days after I stopped Nexium and I no more feel bloated. Today (1st Nov) I had taken a ranitidine 150 mg in morning, a DGL before lunch and half of a Tumms tablet in the evening. With these, my reflux has been very mild all through today. I am very hopeful that I should be medicine free soon!

To sum it up, my experience on getting off Nexium:

1) Tapering down slowly helps a lot. My tapering was in fact -- 20 mg for 2 years, 10 mg for another 2, 5 mg for another 2.
2) After you stop Nexium, use ranitidine, along with other supplements from among DGL, Tumms, ACV, slippery elm, marshmellows, mastic gum (whichever works for you).
3) In my case the acid rebound has lasted for at least 20 days (imagine, even with the kind of 'small dose' I was taking for 2 years!)
4) An inescapable thought whenever acid reflux kicks in after stopping Nexium is the doubt whether it is the acid rebound causing the reflux or it is the disease because of which one started Nexium in the first place. In such a situation, it helps to check whether once is improving as the days go by. If there is an improvement, it is more likely to be acid rebound that is causing the acid reflux.

I hope this is not a lull before the storm. I shall keep posting my 'progress'.

-- Peter

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2011
Total Posts : 795
   Posted 11/2/2011 7:23 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks, Peter. I also do not plan to take Nexium forever, but I have to let some healing occur. I think some here have tapered off by just taking the PPI every other day (maybe for a week), then every thid day etc. with H2 blockers or antacids on the in-between days. My GI doc said that some people "get by" with PPI and Gaviscon alternated at two week intervals, but that makes no sense to me considering the rebound. He likes Gaviscon because we develp tolerance for H2 blockers. Tapering like you have done makes the most sense.

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 11/2/2011 9:43 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Peter, I just started Nexium today  to heal EE. My doctor says to stay on it for 2 months but I am pretty sure he will say afterwards for life time. My plan is to stop at the end of December and I hope I can based on what you said.  I am on a diet called Great Taste no Pain ( on the internet) and it has stopped my IBS symptoms. I hope it will work with the Gerd and get me off Nexium in 2 months.  Also plan to see get accuputure for stress caused by this Gerd.  Maybe someone can tell me if it is easy to stop Nexium with only two months of usage. yeah

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 273
   Posted 11/2/2011 8:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Peter, thank you for the information. Could you recall which factor or what thing that you did contribute to the disappearance of your hiatal hernia? I have hiatal hernia and I am underweight. I am thinking if this condition has contributed to my GERD and if weight gain could make the hernia disappear.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 148
   Posted 11/14/2011 10:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Peter, thanks for your success story. I am in the same boat, but I am just starting my process now to give up on Nexium. I am planning to slowly come off Nexium, and I will try HCL first to see if I have GERD because of low acid.

Peter Olvadt
New Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 11/15/2011 2:35 AM (GMT -6)   
I am terribly sorry I could not post in the past two weeks -- some personal issues..
@WJF: I have no idea what contributed to the disappearance of my hiatal hernia. The difference between the situations back then and now is that I am about 5 lbs lighter and almost stress free. Back then I was in a job that took enough of me, mentally. But I never read anywhere that stress can lead to hiatal hernia..
Anyway, back to my 'progress' -- two days after I posted here last (1st Nov), my heartburn got a little worse and I went back on ranitidine, two times day. Last week my symptoms eased a lot and I could stop ranitidine totally, and used to get a very mild heartburn occasionally. I used to chew mastic gum or a chewing gum when that happenned and that was a very good relief. Now again, my heartburn has become a little worse since yesterday, still bearable however. I am not taking ranitidine for this, managing with mastic gum/ chewing gums.
I am not really worried about these recurring episodes of mild heartburn since according to what I have read in the internet, that is probably how it is going to be for a while. For those who understand physics, I think the excessive gastin secretion is some sort of 'underdamped oscillation'! I am very hopeful now that I will be off any sort of GERD medications soon. I feel really thankful to the internet for letting me know abot the 'acid rebound' and especially to the posts by the user rosebloom in this forum which gave me a lot of hope to continue without Nexium all these days.
-- Peter

Post Edited (Peter Olvadt) : 11/15/2011 12:56:21 AM (GMT-7)

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 12/16/2011 6:30 PM (GMT -6)   
I have a very similar story...

Started having some discomfort in my throat + stomach cramps after I did some strenuous exercise. Did not think too much about it and just took OTC prilosec for 3-4 days. Things did not improve and after 1 week I saw my PCP. She told me "Right drug, wrong dosage... Take 2 prilosec a day". Please notice that at this point I did NOT have any burning sensation in my stomach/throat... It just felt I had a knot in my throat and some stomach discomfort.

With 2 prilosec a day, things went worse: I had a constant feeling of indigestion/bloating/cramping. Also, my appetite was completely gone. I lost 7 pounds in 3 weeks (which is not good for me as I am already thin).
I then went back to see the doctor and she just changed the drug to Protonix.... Which, in addition to bloated, got me also dizzy.

When I called my PCP again, she referred me to a gastroenterologist who immediately confirmed "It is gastritis, 2/3 of the population suffers from it". He also put me through a series of tests: abdomen ultrasound, CT scan, endoscopy, gastric emptying study. Everything came back negative.

As I was going through the tests, like so many other people on PPI, also my bowels started feeling weird. Undigested food/weird stool, bloated tummy... When asked, both my PCP and the gastroenterologist dismissed the whole thing as my paranoia. NEVER a mention that PPI can cause that.

This whole story has been going on for 2 months, during which I tried to stop Protonix once with the awful effect of acid rebounds. And I agree with what was stated before: when you get the acid rebound, this time with an awful burning sensation, you get so insecure about it... Is it really the acid rebound or is it the GERD? Well, in my case I truly believe it was the acid rebound as I DID NOT HAVE ANY BURNING TO START WITH.

Anyhow, because of the gastric emptying study I had to stop Protonix again 3 days ago. And now I decided to keep it that way.

So, wish me luck as my ordeal through acid rebound has just started. I count on using some Zantac to keep sane (+ DGL, AbsorbeAid and Calcium Citrate in powder).



Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 417
   Posted 12/16/2011 7:49 PM (GMT -6)   
The great inconsistency with PPIs is that all of the pharmaceutical companies that make them say they are only safe for relatively short periods of time, yet GERD is a chronic condition. Some patients can tolerate them "forever", but the rest of us...


New Member

Date Joined Dec 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 12/18/2011 4:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Not sure if anybody is interested, but I wanted to give an update on how I am doing on day 5 after stopping Protonix... MUCH BETTER.

The first 3 days were rough. I had a painful burning sensation in my stomach that started ~20-30 minutes after meals. And the usual sensation of not being able to digest properly.

Starting from yesterday the burning has become much better. I still have some cough prompted by the "digestive fumes" in my esophagus. Also, I feel my stomach is a little sensitive on the left side. But I am digesting much better and I almost feel hungry again.

I do not feel I am out of the woods yet but hopefully the worst part is behind. I am still taking Zantac, Absorbaid, DGL and calcium citrate in powder.


New Member

Date Joined Apr 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/25/2013 6:06 AM (GMT -6)   
Sabre,  You have posted to an old thread so I have started you a thread of your own.  Look for it on this page and the topic will have your name in it.  Welcome aboard !

Post Edited By Moderator (stkitt) : 4/25/2013 10:09:06 AM (GMT-6)

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