Taking Prevacid Longterm

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New Member

Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 2/25/2013 1:01 PM (GMT -7)   
Ok, so with the advice of the pharmacist, I decided to take a 14 day dose of 24 hr Prevacid 20mg because she said she felt the Famotidine (generic of pepcid) I was prescribed was a very low dosage. OMG, it felt sooo good not to have heartburn for those 2 weeks. Sadly, it seems my heartburn has returned. I've had it for the past 3 days now. It does come and go and doesn't stay terribly long each time. According to the Prevacid bottle, it says not to take a 14 day dose more than every 4 months, yet I've seen people on here post being on it for a long time. So how come the box says not to take it nonstop, yet many seem to do so?

Prevacid®24HR is indicated for the treatment of frequent heartburn, which occurs 2 or more days a week. Use as directed for 14 days. You may repeat one 14-day course every 4 months or as directed by your doctor.

Is it safe to take longterm or not? What's the point of only taking it for 14 days only to have your heartburn return for the 4 months before your next treatment? I'm so confused! Any recommendations?

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts : 294
   Posted 2/25/2013 1:20 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi CarolinaAngel82,

Welcome to Healing Well!

I think that the first and most important question to ask is, have you seen or intend to see an internist or gastroenterologist? There might be serious underlying issues which might be causing your discomfort.
A pharmacist is not the best resource at this point in time. Being on H2 or PPI drugs may be indicated long term but that must be diagnosed by some tests in close consultation with an good MD.

Do you have a history of gastric issues?


Gastricman :-)

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 2/25/2013 1:45 PM (GMT -7)   
Well, I will simply post something I had wrote up at the beginning of February.

I took Doxycycline Hyclate for 10 days after being prescribed it at the ER for what the doctor said he thought was a "Flu-like virus". I started taking this medicine on January 7th and ended it on the night of January 16th. Took twice a day. 100mg tablets. On the 3rd day, I was taking one of the pills and it felt like it got stuck in my throat. Took a few hours, but the feeling finally went away. On January 18th (2 days after completing the round of antibiotics), I started having chest pains after bending down and was having horrible body chills that kept me from going to sleep, so I went to the ER. The ER doc said it sounded like Acid Reflux and gave me a prescription for Famotidine which I never did start taking because the pain went away as soon as I got to the ER, as always. Fast forward to Tuesday, the 29th. At around 1pm my chest started hurting really badly. Straight down the middle of my breasts. It was so bad, I almost pulled over. Instead, i went to the ER, yet again. They did X-Rays and an ultrasound on my stomach to rule out gallstones and said it could possibly be my gall bladder not working, would have to do more tests to rule that out. it's been 3 days now that I've been taking the Famotidine, and while I'm not having as bad of pains, my chest still hurts, my throat feels like something is stuck in it, and my chest hurts worse right after I eat something (literally 5 seconds after I eat). While I was chalking it up to acid reflux, that medicine doesn't appear to be fixing the issue and now that I've read some of the posts on another forum about doxycyclate, I'm seriously thinking it's a side effect of the doxycyclate. Can a side effect take this long to get serious and do you all think it could actually be from this medicine? It didn't start until shortly after taking it, as you can see. Any suggestions?

Update: I called a pharmacist at Wal-Mart last night to get her opinion on it...she said even if the pill had gotten stuck in my throat, it would've desolved by now and she said she also believes it's acid reflux and recommended taking Prevacid because what the doctor prescribed me
(Famotidine) was a very mild symptom reliever. Andddd...after going online and finding a support
forum, I asked all this information and even they said they thought it was GERD as well. Heartburn/
chest pain/lump in throat are all symptoms of GERD. Soooo...I went out last night...bought some
dang Prevacid...$18 for 14 pills (1 a day). Gonna start them this morning...however, as usual...I wake
up THIS morning and the lump is gone and there is no chest pain. After 3 frickin days of it!!!! Bleh.
Still gonna take it though just to make sure it doesn't come back.

So now, while taking the Prevacid, the symptoms were completely gone and I felt great! I've been off the meds now for about 3 days and I'm having heartburn...not chest pain, just heartburn. I have no medical insurance (can't afford it), so I have no choice but to take advice from people who have had the same issues I have. While I know this forum is not a place for medical advice, I do know that the issues were gone while taking that Prevacid.

Please see my previous posts on this forum as well...



Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2012
Total Posts : 359
   Posted 2/26/2013 7:06 AM (GMT -7)   
You should have an endoscopy so they can verify if this is acid reflux. You mentioned your gallbladder - if it is bad then the bile it produces can cause acid reflux. Basically they'll do the endoscopy and know where to go from there.

The over-the-counter pills say to only take for 14 days because they are trying to relieve the symptoms and are not a cure. You could have something seriously wrong (acid reflux) that needs to be checked and addressed.

Keep in mind that staying on PrevAcid and other medicines like it can cause damage to your bones. I've just learned recently that I have severe calcium deficiency from PrevAcid. I've been taking those kinds of meds off and on since 2005 - but was prescribed 4 PrevAcid a day for 7 months and that is where the damage came from.

Not trying to scare you - just basically trying to show you that calling places and asking people questions isn't going to fix your issue. They need to look inside and see what is really going on. An endoscopy isn't bad - they put you asleep for it :) I did the same routine you are right now, but back in 2005. It took until 2013 for me to actually FIX the issues (my case was surgery). I wish I would have tried harder in 2005 so I didn't have to live the past 8 years with on and off again chest pains and awful health!

Good luck to you :)

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 2/26/2013 9:20 AM (GMT -7)   
I understand that completely and I did have a nurse ask me if they had ever done one of those, which they have not. But my issue isn't having the things done, it's having the insurance/money to have those things done. Sadly, we live in a country where insurance isn't cheap and the only jobs out there are part time. Who can afford insurance on 20 hours a week at minimum wage? I just don't know what to do. :(

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2012
Total Posts : 359
   Posted 2/26/2013 9:48 AM (GMT -7)   
CarolinaAngel82 said...
I understand that completely and I did have a nurse ask me if they had ever done one of those, which they have not. But my issue isn't having the things done, it's having the insurance/money to have those things done. Sadly, we live in a country where insurance isn't cheap and the only jobs out there are part time. Who can afford insurance on 20 hours a week at minimum wage? I just don't know what to do. :(

Can you qualify for assistance? I know it's hard when you don't have money but if it's something serious that can get worse - catching it now is WAY cheaper than later.

If I were you I'd call around to the GI doctors and see if there is one who can help somehow or assistance.

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 2/26/2013 8:40 PM (GMT -7)   
No, I can't get assistance. They say I make too much. Not sure how that's possible, but whatever. Most doctors want a certain amount of money up front, usually around 100-200 dollars depending on what you're there for. I just don't ever have that much money at one time. I have bills to pay. And yea, I know it'd be cheaper now than later, but I have no choice.

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2012
Total Posts : 359
   Posted 2/27/2013 6:21 AM (GMT -7)   
I don't understand where they always get that "you make too much money" crap. Drives me insane! It's like ***!? Maybe I make too much money if I didn't have a place to live and lived in a cardboard box instead... and didn't have bills!

Sorry to hear that :( In the mean time, aloe vera juice helps a lot - just take a shot of that when the medicine isn't working or you feel sudden heartburn.
GERD - LINX January 15, 2013

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 158
   Posted 2/27/2013 10:14 AM (GMT -7)   

I don't understand why you can not take prevacid for longer that two weeks if it helped. You can do that with not problem even if it says that you can only use it for 14 days. All doctors do is prescribe you higher doses for longer time. You shouldn't be afraid to take it until the irritation heals. I took ppis three years ago for a few months until the irritation healed and the I was able to stop them and not take anything for two years. Until I started taking ibuprofin again and I was stupid and not careful and it gave me reflux again that this time is very hard to stop.

If the prevacid helped, just go with it. I learned that doctors with all their expensive tests (that I did) all they will do is prescribe you ppis, either otc or prescription strength.

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2012
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 2/28/2013 9:46 AM (GMT -7)   
Sure PPI's help, but your body will start to depend on them and if you try to go off you're going to possibly get rebound acid, or what I'll describe as 'acid from hell'.

Given your financial situation I would def look into dietary changes, search natural digestive aids, and I have heard Aloe Vera juice can heal your stomach (I've found it in gallon jugs at a pretty reasonable price). Take TUMS refreshers when you have flare ups.

PPI's are evil and long term use is a bad for your health for sure.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7180
   Posted 2/28/2013 10:31 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi CarolinaAngel,
Sorry to hear you don't have insurance...that's rough, I know I'm sure even OTC Prevacid is very expensive for you. This is the thing, though. Ideally you'd be seen by a GI doctor, but at this point you don't have insurance, so you can't. The PPI helps you. If you can afford to continue taking it, I would suggest you do that until you have an opportunity to see a GI doc.

Of course, you can take it for the two weeks recommended and see if things get back to normal for you, but if you truly have GERD, chances are you will need to continue. If you can go off and on, you could avoid the rebound issue (when you take it nonstop for quite a while, when you go off you get more acid.), but if you can't, you can't.

Until you get under the care of a GI doc, you'll have to do what works, and if it makes you feel better, then it's protecting your esophagus, which is important.

Google "GERD triggers", and stay away from foods that cause you reflux. Elevate the head of your bed by putting blocks or books under the legs. This will help keep acid in your stomach at night (using gravity), when it's likely to travel up your esophagus.

Read this document that provides information about the best way to take PPIs and get the most out of them:

If you need to take PPIs to protect your esophagus and feel comfortable, in my opinion, that's what you should do. I started taking them probably 17 years ago, am 60, and my bones have hung in there just fine. And I have double whammy...I have to take steroids for asthma.

Increase your calcium and vitamin D intake...eat foods high in calcium. Generally eat a healthy diet. You could also take a general vitamin supplement...it couldn't hurt, as long as it doesn't bother your stomach.

It's important that you find a way to heal your esophagus and stomach, so you can get comfortable. If you need Prevacid or Protonix long-term so be it. Many do. I hope that one day soon you'll be able to see a GI doc and get the kind of care you deserve.

Good luck!
GERD/Heartburn Moderator
Nissen Fundoplication 2/09

"Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose”

“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”
Eckhart Tolle

Post Edited (dencha) : 2/28/2013 4:59:55 PM (GMT-7)

Pat Tall
Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2012
Total Posts : 950
   Posted 2/28/2013 1:50 PM (GMT -7)   
Prevacid OTC is cheapest at Walmart. The Prevacid web page has coupons. Got couple for $3.00 each a few weeks back. Also have friends with computers -- have them print coupons for you too.(I'm guessing you are in US).

Denise, I agree with your advice

The remark to take medicine for two weeks has two purposes,-- one is to protect the drug manufacturer. If I remember correctly,-- before they were required to change their labeling,--they have lawsuits of some type pending. Re Nexium.
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