If Anxious Check Drugs: PPIs and Diuretics

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November 10, 2014 | 20 Comments


  1. Somewhere back in seventh-grade science class I think we learned our stomachs were full of acid for a reason: to digest our food. It stands to reason that the more efficiently a drug turns off the acid pump, the more trouble it could cause. Far too many people take these pills every day, long term.

    It’s even scarier how many are put on them by doctors for “prevention” — before they even have any stomach upset. A lot of the pain doctors in my area issue a script for omeprazole along with the first script for painkillers without even waiting to see if the pain pills upset the patient’s stomach.

    I’m no doctor, but the list of vitamins, minerals etc. that can’t be properly digested when you’re on proton pump inhibitors is alarming. There’s calcium — the link to osteoporosis is real — and vitamin B12, a shortage of which can cause all kinds of nerve and brain damage. The next cohort of people to hit age 65 will include a lot of folks who have been popping these pills for twenty years, and they may be in much worse health in old age than they ever expected.

    I wonder if one reason the problem stays under the radar is alcohol. Heavy drinkers tend to have some of these problems anyway, particularly B12 deficiencies. And heavy drinkers are top customers for acid-indigestion remedies. When one of them shows up with serious deficiencies, the booze gets all the blame, and the Nexium or Prilosec gets off scot-free.

  2. I totally echo Johanna’s post. I was put on Omeprazole for three years for reflux! In that time, I developed debilitating panic attacks, ectopic heart beats and hypocalcemia. I have to take calcium and D3 daily as my parathyroids were destroyed during botched thyroid surgery. There was no mention of the need to counteract the D3/calcium with magnesium either, but that’s endocrinology for you – always far more interested in Diabetes and dismissive of poor hypothyroid sufferers.

    When my legs gave way and I passed out, I insisted on full blood panels and discovered I was b12, iron and zinc deficient too. PPIs are very efficient at removing stomach acid, but why in the world would you want to? As it happens, I had reflux caused by low stomach acid, not high, and never should have been on these drugs for three harmful years.

    I have no words for how much I despise them and the pushers who foist them on us. That’s what they are, drug pushers.

  3. I was on Prilosec for 20 years for GERD! Decided to stop taking due to published SE of dementia, osteoporosis,renal failure. Well it has been awful, I have experienced the worst anxiety attacks in which I’ve never had not a anxious person! I have been to the ER thinking I was having a heart attack. I felt like I was gonna pass out, Hands shake, tingling in my face and limbs, muscle tightness all over can’t relax feels like a constant state of fight or flight syndrome! I’m 2 weeks off the drug and still having these symptoms almost daily also heart palpitations! I’m miserable scared to drive because its happened few times while driving had to take off work because having attacks at work!! I want to feel better. I’m praying it has not done permanent damage just wandering if it will go away and when!!! Help! Does anyone have anything encouraging regarding whether these symptoms will subside. I wouldn’t suggest this drug for anyone!

    • I had to write back because I’m currently scouring the internet for answers and i came across your post. I took nexium for one year and currently tapering off (tomorrow is my last day) because of the dementia and kidney studies. I’m experiencing a lot of similar problems- anxiety, internal tremoring all over, but especially my legs, tingling and cramping in my legs and quadricep weakness. I had bloodwork done this week and so far everything is normal (vitamins b and d still pending). I cannot believe this crazy withdrawal! I also shake prior to falling asleep and when waking…

      • I certainly think that checking b12 and magnesium levels are good ideas. If they are normal, then consider this: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S107474271300172X. Basically gastrin, which normally stimulates the parietal (acid making) cells is increased when proton pumps on the parietal cells are blocked. Gastrin is part of a larger neuroendocine cascade so that levels of gastrin can affect a neuronal and possibly adrenal response by GRP and GRPR. It appears that drugs to work on this receptor may be in the works.

    • Hi Theresa

      I have just come across your post and it is exactly what I am going through at the moment down to a T. I am just wondering how long your symptoms stayed with you and how you are now? I was on lansoprazole for 16 years and tapered off them slowly but started the same symptoms as you, please tell me it goes away.

  4. I took Nexium for years-probably more than 10. I had gone to my daughters for 2 weeks and kept forgetting to take them. The night before I was going home I remembered I had not been taking them and took one. Within 30 minutes I was having a full blown panic attack. Flight or fight reaction. Walked the floor for hours. Being a nurse I knew what I was having, not why. Did not even think it could be nexium as I had taken it for years. I had never had anything like that in my life!! I went home and continued to have them. Went to my medical doctor who put me on Zoloft even though I explained I had not been nervous or upset about anything. After about 2 weeks of them, my friend, who is a pharmacist, saw me taking the “purple pill” and told me there had been a lot on the news recently about problems with the pills so I might need to stop taking them. He did not remember what the complaints were, so I went on line, not thinking panic attacks and low and behold – panic attacks were the main complaints! Needles to say, I stopped taking them. The attacks continued for about 2 or 3 weeks I think. Each less than the other one and did completely stop after a few weeks. I would like to know how to find out about whether I have low acid production instead of high acid production as the burning has come back after a few years.

    • Sandra and Teresa – I have been going thru exactly what you’ve written about.
      I was on prilosec for years and then was switched to protonix in September due to still having nighttime gerd. I was taking the protonix at night before bed – and when I went in for a consult, I was told I needed to take it 30 minutes before my first meal. I did that for a week and then all of a sudden started getting these terrible feelings…anxiety, heart palpitations, shaking, I was up pacing the floor for hours. I’ve been to the ER and my doctor but nobody has any answers (all my labs comeback great and my heart test is fine), . I quit taking the protonix about 4 days ago. I have noticed the anxiety is less frequent and I think less severe but it still shows up about every 36 hours or so. It’s a terrible feeling and my doctor and gastro doctor seem to have never heard of this response. Honestly, I would take heartburn over the panicky feeling. You say 2 to 3 weeks and these feelings went away, right?

      • Hi there I had been taken Omeprazole for a few weeks there was doing great finished the course and was feeling great for weeks but now that I’ve stopped taking them I’ve been having uncontrollable shaking panic attacks anxiety really really bad everyday and I’ve had to resort to taken 2 Valium first thing in the morning then I wait see if I feel a attack coming on then I will take 1 more wait 30 mins if ok I leave the other 1,,, i went to my doctor and told him what was happening and what I was taken to help relax my symptoms and he prescribed me betta blockers propranolol to take up to 3 a day or when as needed now I have to taper off Valium then try these betta blockers propranolol I hope they work and stop me from having these episodes of uncontrollable shaking feelings of selflessness and dissolution from the world and no 1 seems to want to help you till it’s to late and you have enough and end it which happens to a lot of young people who suffer from mental health problems like anxiety depression panic attacks etc ect ect

  5. I was on omeprazole for about three weeks for GERD. I took Zantac to to control my symptoms prior. However, in early December I felt this constant feeling of something stuck in my throat. My PCP said I had GERD and prescribed the omeprazole. It relieved my symptoms in about a day. However, about 4 days or so into it, I woke up anxious and depressed. It was debilitating. It absolutely ruined my holiday. I had an upper GI performed 4 days ago and it came back normal. I stopped the omeprazole and have started to feel better in regard to anxiety and depression. I am not fully recovered, but i can tell I am getting better. I am hopeful that in a couple weeks or less it will have subsided completely.

    I really feel for all of you that are going through this. It is very scary. These pills should be taken off of the market.

    • I too have been taking Protonix for 4 months. I also have been taking Maxzide for about 35 years. Another awful drug! I started having awful dizzy spells and could barely turn my head without feeing off. I went first cut the Maxzide in half and I quit taking the Protonix 3 days ago. My potassium and chloride levels were low, all caused by the Protonix and the mix of these two drugs together. I’m already feeling better, but still feeling this awful anxiety. Thanks for all of the posts!

  6. It seems that the drug is best used in the short term, for treating ulcers or similar conditions. I believe the drug helps the ulcer to heal by limiting the amount of acid in the stomach. Once the ulcer is healed, the medicine can be discontinued and other measures taken to prevent further trouble, like diet changes. In the short term, these side effects are manageable. It seems the worst problems come from people who are using the drug for years.

  7. My Anxiety and Omeprazole PPI story: I took 40mg of Omeprazole daily for nearly 4 years. After I started taking PPI’s, I began to get severe anxiety and panic attacks that prevented me from flying and even driving, had severe unexplained pain in my left side and low back, and severe nerve pain throughout my body that gradually got worse and worse to the point of being completely debilitating. The weird thing, is that I never connected these symptoms with taking PPI’s or omeprazole. After turning over every stone, and spending thousands of dollars in the health care system, I concluded that PPI’s were the only thing left that it could be and the only thing I had completely overlooked, so I finally stopped taking them in December. I went through horrible rebound acid, but I took licorice, ginger, and decided that no matter what I was going to fight through it. Fortunately, the acid eventually did reduce and I had to be extremely careful about what I ate (any type of red sauce usually caused severe GERD). And, the amazing thing is that the severe anxiety began to decrease and eventually subsided around 6-8 weeks after stopping. The severe nerve pain slowly reduced over several months…it’s still there but not as bad as it was. And, I am slowly feeling better and better everyday. GERD is very real and could cause esophageal cancer in my case, but I’m going to focus on continued diet and lifestyle improvement and not rely on pills as my main defense. I had to decide that my quality of life was more important than quantity of life. One day living without severe anxiety is worth 100 days with it. My advice to anyone with GERD is to NOT fall into the trap of thinking it’s a good idea to stay on PPI’s forever…you can do it, but there are serious consequences. It’s very tempting thinking you can take a pill and not change your lifestyle…but you can’t cheat your body. Think smart and stay healthy everyone.

  8. I have been taking Omeprazole 40 mg for about 4 years. 3 weeks ago I woke up with tightness through my solar plexus and severe anxiety and dizziness. I went to my doctor and he prescribed 60 mg Omeprazole. Anxiety is now worse. And he also gave me something for anxiety, which if I take it, I cannot drive. I cannot stay home with anxiety. I cannot stay home on anxiety meds. It seems to me that the omeprazoe was working fine, but isn’t working now. I’m back to belching with palpitations around the solar plexus. AND NOW Im having anxiety attacks with nausea and dizziness too. Fun!

  9. I’ve been taking Omeprazole for approximately 15+ years for acid reflux. Prior to that I don’t recall. After reading all these posts I now have some understanding of the symptoms I’ve been living with for years. I have PTSD and figured that was the reason for Major Depression and Anxiety.
    I have resently been diagnosed with Atrial Flutter, and I have been experiencing Palpitations for quite some time. I also have tingling in My feet, especially My right foot and leg with cramps. My Esophagus Burns even when drinking cold fluids. And, I have had Prostate Cancer for 2+ years.
    These are all symptoms/side effects, from what I’m reading, that one experiences from taking Omeprazole or simular PPI’s.
    I’ve complained of these symptoms to various Doctors and Therapists for over 10-15 years, to no avail.
    I’m reluctant to take something else they prescribe for fear, it too will be in question down the road???
    David Lindbo

  10. Thank you all for your posts. I have been taking Nexium (Esomeprazole MAG DR) 40 MG for about 4 weeks due to Gastritis. An ERCP revealed a large stomach ulcer which caused severe unrelenting pain. Immediately after I started the Nexium I began to experience anxiety, panic attacks, & dark thoughts. The nerve pain, tingling and surging feeling in my legs and feet is awful especially at night. After about 10 days the Gastritis pain stopped (did the ulcer heal?) and I asked my Dr if I could stop the Nexium but he said I have to continue for 3 months and then taper as to not have acid rebound. I don’t know how to manage my very unquiet mind and body for 3 more months! It’s awful. At least now I feel like I have validation that what I’m experiencing is real but can you tell me whether once I stop Nexium will I expect to continue to have these serious side effects for awhile? Has anyone been suicidal?

    • Try marshmallow root and herbal remedies. How are you doing? I just started nexium for erosive esophagtis and am starting to experience insomnia and weird thoughts along with anxiety as well.

  11. I have been on Nexium for about 15 years. I’ve had all kinds of concerning symptoms throughout this time including nerve pain, muscoskelital pain, sleeping problems, chest pain, extreme dizzy spells and just feeling generally unwell. I have now decided to taper off and this has been filled with debilitating anxiety, shaking to the point that I can barely stand without wobbling, panic attacks, inability to sleep more than 4-5 hours a night, esophagial spasms and loss of appetite. It’s been awful but I did not make the connection that coming OFF of it has caused these symptoms. I wish I knew why.

  12. I am a board certified physician and a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. I started myself on Esomeprazole for basic heartburn caused by red sauce on pizza. I needed to escalate my dose because my symptoms worsened. I increased my dose and took it for 4 weeks because I now had fear of an ulcer or Zollinger–Ellison or some such nonsense. The anxiety worsened and landed me in the ED twice, netting a few panels of normal labs, a normal CT with contrast of my abdomen and pelvis, and a normal EGD. I missed a week of work. I had full body shaking, weakness, anxiety, abdominal pain, and depression with no history of these. I have an anxiety med now and am withdrawing myself from PPI’s. I have no history of depression nor anxiety. All of this is because I reached for the wrong reflux medicine. I find that supplements of magnesium are helpful. I am talking to every doctor who will listen about my experience. I am going to work on weaning all of my patients from PPI’s that I can. I also have a graduate degree in pharmaceutical research and will look into getting answers.

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