Omeprazole, manufactured the trade names Prilosec and Losec, is a proton-pump inhibitor prescribed for the management of medical conditions such as: gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD); peptic ulcer disease; Zollinger-Ellison syndrome; and forms of esophagitis (erosive and eosinophilic). In some cases, omeprazole is also utilized as a prophylactic to prevent upper gastrointestinal bleeding in at-risk populations.
As a selective and irreversible proton-pump inhibitor (PPI), omeprazole functions by inhibiting the enzyme H+/K+-ATPase (hydrogen/potassium-ATPase) to suppress the production of stomach acid. Although many people derive substantial therapeutic benefit from omeprazole’s action as a proton-pump inhibitor, some users might: find the medication ineffective and/or difficult to tolerate (due to omeprazole side effects) – or use it for a while and eventually desire to try functioning without it.
Among persons who don’t respond well to omeprazole, dislike its side effects, and/or want to try functioning without it – omeprazole discontinuation may be warranted. Though most individuals will have no major issues with the discontinuation process, others may experience unexpected and/or debilitating omeprazole withdrawal symptoms.
Omeprazole Withdrawal Symptoms (List of Possibilities)
Included below is a list of withdrawal symptoms that have been documented by former omeprazole users following discontinuation. Prior to reading through the list of symptoms, it is important to underscore the fact that the specific withdrawal symptoms (and the severities of those symptoms) occurring after omeprazole cessation will be subject to interindividual variation.
In other words, the specific withdrawal symptoms that you experience after quitting omeprazole might differ significantly from those reported by other former users. However, data from scientific studies (in which proton-pump inhibitor withdrawal symptoms were reported) indicate that several discontinuation symptoms are more common than others, including: heartburn (~45%), dyspepsia (~30%), acid regurgitation (~25%).
According to data from a study by Reimer et al. (2009), heartburn is one of the most common symptoms that emerges following of proton-pump inhibitor discontinuation. For reference, heartburn is a specific form of indigestion commonly described as a “burning sensation” in the center of the chest (or near the heart).
The specific cause of heartburn in omeprazole withdrawal is probably hypersecretion of stomach acid which causes acid regurgitation into the esophagus, and as a result, a “burning sensation” within the upper chest. Taking into consideration data from the aforementioned study by Reimer et al., it’s reasonable to estimate that heartburn might occur in around 45% of former omeprazole users during the first 4 weeks after discontinuation.
In the study by Reimer et al., the severity of heartburn following proton-pump inhibitor discontinuation was reported as being “mild-to-moderate.” That said, because the Reimer et al. study involved healthy individuals, it’s fair to hypothesize that heartburn might be more severe in withdrawal among persons with preexisting gastroesophageal conditions.
Indigestion or Dyspepsia (30%)
Data from a study by Reimer et al. (2009) indicate that indigestion (medically referred to as “dyspepsia”) is the second most frequently-reported symptom that emerges following discontinuation of proton-pump inhibitors. Reflecting upon available data from the aforementioned Reimer et al. study, indigestion was reported to have occurred in approximately 30% of former proton-pump inhibitor users within 4 weeks of cessation.
The cause of indigestion (impaired or irregular digestion) during withdrawal is understood to be rebound stomach acid hypersecretion – or excessive production of stomach acid following proton-pump inhibitor cessation. The severity of indigestion reported in the Reimer et al. study was documented as being “mild-to-moderate” based on self-reports.
Nevertheless, because the Reimer et al. study involved healthy participants, it’s fair to speculate that indigestion may be of heightened severity among patients with preexisting gastroesophageal irregularities – throughout withdrawal. Moreover, if indigestion occurs in withdrawal, it might trigger or exacerbate concurrent reactions such as: appetite reduction, belching, heartburn, nausea, stomach fullness, and/or stomach pain.
Acid regurgitation (25%)
Acid regurgitation (colloquially referred to as “acid reflux”) was reported by in a study by Reimer et al. (2009) as being the third-most common symptom of proton-pump inhibitor withdrawal. The cause of acid regurgitation in withdrawal is likely rebound stomach acid hypersecretion whereby stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus.
In the aforementioned study by Reimer et al., approximately 25% of healthy individuals experienced significant acid regurgitation (of mild-to-moderate severity) after discontinuing proton-pump inhibitors following an 8-week treatment phase. Because the study by Reimer et al. involved healthy individuals, many speculate that the prevalence and severity of acid regurgitation in withdrawal may be greater in populations with preexisting gastroesophageal conditions.
Other symptoms of omeprazole withdrawal
In addition to the 3 most scientifically-substantiated omeprazole withdrawal symptoms (heartburn, indigestion, and acid regurgitation) – other symptoms have been reported by former users. Though it’s unclear as to whether these additional symptoms are legitimately attributable to omeprazole withdrawal, it’s not unreasonable to consider the possibility.
Rebound acid hypersecretion that occurs during omeprazole withdrawal could provoke symptoms like: bloating, gas, nausea, stomach aches, and weight change. Moreover, rebound acid hypersecretion might alter gut bacteria, increase inflammation (e.g. cytokine levels), and increase oxidative stress to trigger neuropsychiatric symptoms such as: anxiety, depression, headache, insomnia, etc.
- Anxiety: Even if you don’t have a history of anxiety, it’s possible that anxiety, nervousness, or panic attacks could emerge as omeprazole withdrawal symptoms due to changes in gut bacteria, heightened production of inflammatory cytokines, and/or increased oxidative stress – all stemming from rebound acid hypersecretion. Persons with anxiety disorders and/or neuropsychiatric conditions may be most “at risk” for experiencing anxiety during withdrawal due to preexisting neurochemical abnormalities.
- Appetite loss: Many individuals have reported appetite reduction and/or appetite loss after quitting omeprazole. Appetite loss could occur for a variety of reasons in withdrawal, but is most likely attributable to rebound acid hypersecretion. Rebound acid hypersecretion in withdrawal can induce symptoms such as: bloating, heartburn, indigestion, nausea, and stomach pain – each of which might suppress appetite. Appetite loss in withdrawal might also be triggered and/or exacerbated by anxiety and/or depression.
- Bloating: Increased gastric acid production following omeprazole discontinuation can lead some individuals to experience bloating. The bloating may cause and/or be accompanied by: appetite loss, stomach pain, indigestion, and/or weight gain (due to increased water retention). Until rebound acid hypersecretion in withdrawal subsides, bloating may persist. Staying properly hydrated and avoiding excessive dietary sodium may help counteract the bloat.
- Constipation: Some individuals may experience constipation after discontinuing omeprazole. The constipation experienced in withdrawal may be due to decreased gastric motility or a prolongation in the movement of food through the gastrointestinal tract – probably due to fluctuations in the production of stomach acid. If you’re constipated in withdrawal, consider: evaluating your hydration, engaging in more physical activity, and/or tweaking your diet.
- Depression: Though depression is not considered a common omeprazole discontinuation symptom, a small percentage of former users have reported mild depression after stopping treatment. It is believed that individuals with preexisting neuropsychiatric disorders are at greatest risk for experiencing depression in withdrawal. Possible causes of transient depression in withdrawal could include: increased inflammation; gut bacteria changes; and/or oxidative stress.
- Diarrhea: Although some individuals may experience constipation during omeprazole withdrawal, others might end up with diarrhea. Diarrhea in withdrawal might be provoked by excessive production of stomach acid such that the gastrointestinal tract becomes irritated and/or inflamed – and ingested foods move rapidly through the gastrointestinal tract. If you have frequent bowel movements following omeprazole cessation – ask your doctor whether it would be a good idea to use antidiarrheal agents.
- Dizziness & lightheadedness: Many former omeprazole users report dizziness and lightheadedness after stopping the medication. The dizziness and lightheadedness that emerge in withdrawal could have a myriad of potential causes, including: vitamin/mineral deficiencies, electrolyte imbalances, blood pressure changes, and/or increased inflammation. In most cases, dizziness and lightheadedness will resolve within a week or two of omeprazole cessation.
- Fatigue: Dealing with omeprazole discontinuation symptoms can sometimes drain your energy (physical and mental). At times, you may experience tiredness, drowsiness, or fatigue – as your body attempts to normalize its gastric acid production without the influence of omeprazole. Like other discontinuation symptoms, fatigue should decrease significantly within a couple of weeks following complete cessation. That said, poor sleep and/or unmanaged inflammation will exacerbate the fatigue.
- Flu-like symptoms: After discontinuing omeprazole, you may experience a combination of flu-like symptoms such as: nausea, stomach aches, headache, and dizziness. These flu-like symptoms are usually most severe and/or noticeable within the first week of discontinuation. Staying adequately hydrated, supplementing with electrolytes and vitamins, and using anti-inflammatories may help you manage the flu-like feeling.
- Gas (Flatulence): Even though flatulence (or gas accumulation) is a side effect of omeprazole, it is also a discontinuation symptom that a subset of former users will experience in withdrawal. Changes in stomach acid production following omeprazole cessation can lead to a combination of indigestion, bloating, constipation, and flatulence. The gas buildup may be accompanied by gurgling or rumbling sounds in your stomach – and may feel slightly uncomfortable or painful.
- Headache: After completely discontinuing omeprazole, certain individuals may experience frequent and/or severe headaches. Although headaches aren’t necessarily a common withdrawal symptom, headaches could be provoked by: increased inflammation; dietary changes; electrolyte imbalances; dehydration; suboptimal sleep; and/or heightened anxiety/stress. To manage withdrawal-related headaches, be sure that you’re staying hydrated, eating a nutrient-dense diet, and minimizing stress.
- Insomnia & poor sleep: Due to a resurgence of gastric acid production after stopping omeprazole, some individuals might experience insomnia and/or poor sleep. Specifically, elevated gastric acid secretion in withdrawal could cause acid reflux, heartburn, and indigestion – each of which could interfere with one’s ability to fall asleep and/or stay asleep. Heightened anxiety, mood changes, constipation, inflammation, changes in diet, etc. – might also trigger insomnia and/or sleep disturbances.
- Muscle tension: Heightened muscle tension, joint pain, and/or soreness have been reported as omeprazole discontinuation symptoms by a subset of former users. Increased muscle tension and/or joint pain after stopping omeprazole might be attributable to increased peripheral inflammation and/or altered production of peripheral neurotransmitters.
- Nausea & vomiting: Nausea is a common symptom of omeprazole withdrawal that can be caused by rebound acid hypersecretion. In other words, because stomach enzymes are producing more acid than they did while using the medication, this sudden increase in acidification induces acid reflux, indigestion, and predictably – nausea. Although nausea in withdrawal is generally manageable, in severe cases it might lead to vomiting.
- Shakiness or trembling: According to anecdotal reports published online, one of the most common symptoms of omeprazole discontinuation is shakiness or trembling. Many report that their body constantly shakes or trembles uncontrollably for the first week or two after omeprazole cessation. If you’re experiencing extreme shakes, this could be a sign that you need to taper off of omeprazole at a slower rate.
- Stomach aches: If the medical condition for which omeprazole was originally prescribed resurfaces in withdrawal and/or you experience a transient spike in gastric acid production – this could certainly cause stomach aches. The stomach aches or pains that have been reported in omeprazole withdrawal could be relatively severe. Although dietary modifications and supplements might help, anyone experiencing debilitating stomach pain after stopping omeprazole should seek medical attention.
- Weight change: Body weight fluctuations can occur after stopping omeprazole for a variety of reasons. If you experience any significant increase or decrease in appetite during withdrawal, this will likely influence how much food you consume – and could explain your weight change. Other withdrawal symptoms like bloating and constipation might induce a transient, modest weight increase – whereas withdrawal symptoms like diarrhea might yield transient weight loss.
Note: The above list of withdrawal symptoms associated with omeprazole might be incomplete. If you happen to know of additional symptoms that might occur following omeprazole discontinuation, report them in the comments section below.
Contrasting: Omeprazole withdrawal symptoms vs. Medical condition
It is important to emphasize that it’s often difficult to distinguish between omeprazole withdrawal symptoms and a relapse of the medical condition(s) for which omeprazole was prescribed to treat. For example, in someone with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), discontinuation of omeprazole will likely result in the resurfacing of unmanaged GERD symptoms.
In this hypothetical example, the individual with GERD may experience withdrawal symptoms due to omeprazole discontinuation, however, it may be impossible to differentiate withdrawal symptoms from a resurgence of GERD symptoms. This is because omeprazole discontinuation is hypothesized to provoke “rebound acid hypersecretion” (RAH).
In other words, a greater amount of stomach acid might be produced in omeprazole withdrawal than was produced pre-treatment – even among persons with GERD. As a result, the GERD symptoms may become more severe than ever (in some persons) – due to an overlap of: untreated GERD and withdrawal-induced rebound acid hypersecretion.
Though withdrawal symptoms may vary, it’s relatively logical to suggest the following: (1) any new symptoms reported following omeprazole cessation (i.e. symptoms never experienced before medication cessation) – are probably due to withdrawal; and (2) any symptoms that become significantly more severe than ever before (after omeprazole discontinuation) – are probably due to withdrawal.
How do we know that withdrawal symptoms occur from proton-pump inhibitors? Well, there’s evidence from a trial in which 120 healthy adults were randomized to receive a proton-pump inhibitor (PPI) or a placebo for 8 weeks – followed by a 4 week monitoring phase thereafter.
A significant number of the proton-pump inhibitor recipients reported symptoms such as acid regurgitation, dyspepsia, and heartburn – in the 4 weeks following PPI treatment, whereas these reactions were not reported in the placebo users. This supports the idea that withdrawal symptoms likely occur after omeprazole (and related medications) are discontinued.
What causes omeprazole withdrawal symptoms?
Because omeprazole withdrawal hasn’t been extensively researched or discussed in scientific literature, a subset of medical professionals may not buy into the concept of a withdrawal syndrome following the discontinuation of a proton-pump inhibitor. Instead, it may be suggested that all symptoms arising following omeprazole discontinuation are merely due to a resurgence of the medical condition for which omeprazole was prescribed.
Nevertheless, there are data highlighting the emergence of clinically significant “rebound effects” or symptoms following cessation of proton-pump therapy, even in healthy volunteers. Furthermore, there are numerous anecdotal reports on the internet documenting moderate-to-severe withdrawal symptoms following omeprazole cessation.
The underlying cause of omeprazole withdrawal symptoms is probably post-treatment physiological readjustment. When a proton-pump inhibitor is administered regularly over a long-term (e.g. weeks, months, years) – it’s likely that the body adapts to its ongoing administration and presence such that enzyme expression, signaling cascades, etc. might shift slightly from homeostasis.
In fact, research by Qvigstad et al. (1998) suggests that proton-pump inhibitors might induce similar physiologic adaptations as histamine (H2) receptor antagonists (another class of drugs prescribed to reduce gastric acid production). Although there’s no evidence to substantiate the idea of “tolerance” to omeprazole, it’s likely that ongoing treatment could induce subtle physiologic adaptations.
Perhaps when omeprazole is discontinued, the former user’s physiology remains in an omeprazole-adapted state such that, for a week or two following discontinuation, gastric acid production is greater than usual (homeostatic baseline) – possibly due to the fact that the body upregulated its endogenous production of gastric acid to counterbalance the acid-lowering effect of omeprazole. Thus, when the medication is discontinued, the increased gastric acid production might [transiently] linger and cause unwanted “withdrawal symptoms.”
What about the neuropsychiatric manifestations of withdrawal? For those reporting neuropsychiatric symptoms after discontinuing omeprazole, it’s possible that transient rebound acid hypersecretion might alter gut bacteria and cause inflammation. Altered gut bacteria and/or proinflammatory cytokines in the peripheral could undergo central uptake to alter neurotransmitter concentrations and provoke anxiety, depression, headaches, etc.
Variables that influence the severity of omeprazole withdrawal
Included below is a list of variables that might influence the severity of omeprazole withdrawal symptoms. Variables that could influence withdrawal symptom severity include: duration of omeprazole treatment; omeprazole dosage; and rate of discontinuation. A person’s lifestyle (diet, exercise habits, stress) and/or genetics might also impact withdrawal severity.
Duration of omeprazole treatment
The total amount of time over which you’ve been using omeprazole might influence the difficulty of your withdrawal. Most research and anecdotal reports suggest that extremely brief or short-term omeprazole treatment (e.g. several days) is unlikely to cause discontinuation symptoms.
If withdrawal symptoms occur following short-term omeprazole use, they are unlikely to be severe and/or protracted. Comparatively, it is thought that moderate-term (weeks/months) and long-term omeprazole administration increase one’s risk of rebound acid hypersecretion – and severe withdrawal symptoms.
According to survey data moderate-term proton-pump inhibitor use induces withdrawal symptoms of mild-to-moderate severity (in a subset of former users). Nevertheless, because omeprazole and proton-pump inhibitors don’t appear to induce clinically significant tolerance (even with long-term use), there may not be noticeable differences in withdrawal severity between moderate-term and long-term users.
Omeprazole dosage (during treatment)
The dosage of omeprazole utilized during treatment might also influence the severity of discontinuation symptoms. Specifically, it is thought that high-dose omeprazole users might be at greater risk of experiencing severe withdrawals in comparison to persons who used omeprazole at low doses.
Firstly, it is necessary to underscore the fact that individuals who used omeprazole at high doses probably had more substantial acid reflux at baseline (before treatment) – than persons who used lower-dose omeprazole. This considered, it’s reasonable to speculate that, when a high-dose user discontinues treatment – severe acid reflux may resurface, whereas when a low-dose user discontinues treatment – more manageable acid reflux may resurface.
The resurgence of a severe acid reflux condition might exacerbate withdrawal symptoms for the former high-dose user – whereas symptom exacerbation might be less significant for the low-dose user. Moreover, if physiologic adaptations are incurred from omeprazole administration – then the adaptations might be more significant among high-dose users.
If more significant physiologic adaptations are incurred by high-dose users (than low-dose users), then there might be a more significant rebound effect (e.g. rebound acid hypersecretion) after discontinuation. For this reason, one might expect withdrawal symptoms to be more severe among high-dose users – relative to low-dose users.
Rate of omeprazole discontinuation
According to Haastrup et al. (2014), tapering appears to be the most effective strategy for abrupt discontinuation of proton-pump inhibitors like omeprazole, whereas abrupt or “cold turkey” discontinuation is more challenging. It is thought that quitting cold turkey may increase likelihood of and/or severity of hypergastrinemia and rebound acid hypersecretion in withdrawal – especially among long-term users.
Most speculate that gradually tapering off of omeprazole guides the user’s physiology closer to homeostasis before complete cessation – allowing for quicker recovery and fewer discontinuation symptoms. Conversely, it is thought that sudden discontinuation of omeprazole after long-term and/or high-dose use leaves the physiology in an omeprazole-adapted state (further from homeostasis) whereby withdrawal symptoms are more severe and longer-lasting.
Although some evidence presented by Reimer et al. (2009) suggests that there may be no difference in withdrawal symptom severity among those who discontinue proton-pump inhibitors abruptly versus those who taper, anecdotal accounts have reported fewer discontinuation symptoms after a gradual taper. While the rate of omeprazole discontinuation may not influence the severity of everyone’s withdrawal symptoms – it might be a significant influencer of withdrawal severity for a subset of former users.
- Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25192903
- Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19362552
Use of substances while withdrawing from omeprazole
If you’re using substances (e.g. medications, supplements, etc.) while withdrawing from omeprazole, you may be at lower risk of experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms than if you weren’t using any substances. Obviously if you discontinue omeprazole and immediately transition to a different proton-pump inhibitor OR an acid reducing agent (e.g. an H2 antagonist) – you probably won’t notice any withdrawal symptoms because these substances will exert similar effects as omeprazole.
Moreover, even if you’re using substances that are unrelated to omeprazole (and that have no substantial effect on stomach acid production) such as: probiotics, anxiolytics, anti-inflammatories, etc. – it’s possible that using these substances might still attenuate the severity of discontinuation symptoms. For example, if you’re using a probiotic, you might not experience as much stomach pain as you otherwise would’ve.
In summary, it is thought that individuals who transition from using omeprazole to nothing (zero substance use) are at greatest risk of experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms – compared to those who use substances to help mitigate withdrawals. If you don’t notice any discontinuation symptoms, this could be due to your daily medication and/or supplement regimen.
Former omeprazole user’s lifestyle
The lifestyle of a former omeprazole user might also influence how severe his/her withdrawal symptoms end up. Individuals who regularly: consume a nutritious hypocaloric diet (with foods that don’t increase stomach acid production); exercise regularly; manage stress; and get adequate sleep – will probably: (1) have an easier time managing discontinuation symptoms; (2) experience fewer discontinuation symptoms; and (3) have an easier time dealing with a return of the medical condition for which omeprazole was prescribed – relative to persons who engage in unhealthy habits.
On the other hand, persons who: never exercise; consume an unhealthy, hypercaloric diet (with foods that increase stomach acid production); fail to manage stress; and don’t get proper sleep – will probably: (1) have a difficult time with omeprazole discontinuation; and (2) struggle to cope with a return of the medical condition for which omeprazole was prescribed. Though lifestyle won’t always influence withdrawal severity – in many cases lifestyle will probably: attenuate OR exacerbate symptoms.
Former omeprazole user’s gene expression
It is unclear as to why some individuals experience noticeable and/or severe omeprazole withdrawal symptoms – yet others experience zero significant discontinuation symptoms. Although not substantiated with scientific research, it’s fair to speculate that differences in gene expression might determine which former omeprazole users experience withdrawal symptoms after discontinuation – and which don’t.
Perhaps expressing (or lacking) certain genes induces withdrawal symptoms like rebound acid hypersecretion after omeprazole discontinuation – and expressing (or lacking) other genes protects against discontinuation symptoms. Moreover, subtle differences in gene expression might also account for differences in the specific discontinuation symptoms experienced (and/or the severities of those symptoms) – among those who report noticeable withdrawals.
How long does Omeprazole withdrawal last?
It is important to underscore the fact that not everyone who discontinues omeprazole will experience withdrawal symptoms. Some individuals stop taking omeprazole and merely notice a return of excessive gastric acid production associated with the medical condition for which omeprazole was prescribed to treat.
Among those who experience withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing omeprazole, the duration of withdrawal will be subject to significant individual variation – likely based on aforementioned variables such as: treatment duration; dosage; rate of discontinuation; use of substances in withdrawal; lifestyle; and gene expression. For this reason, some will report withdrawal symptoms lasting a few days – whereas others might report withdrawal symptoms lasting a few weeks.
Nevertheless, anyone discontinuing omeprazole should know that its acid suppressing effects may persist for 3 to 5 days after the final dose. This means that for the first 5 days after discontinuation, you might be experiencing a combination of: (1) medication side effects; (2) a return of symptoms associated with the medical condition for which omeprazole was prescribed; and (3) withdrawal symptom onset.
Although no timeline is documented in the medical literature regarding how long omeprazole withdrawal will last – there are studies that have documented how long rebound acid hypersecretion persists after quitting proton-pump inhibitors. Assuming withdrawal symptoms are caused by rebound acid hypersecretion, it’s likely helpful to know how long rebound acid hypersecretion might persist after discontinuation of a proton-pump inhibitor.
According to Teixeira (2011), rebound acid hypersecretion after a moderate duration of proton-pump inhibitor treatment usually begins in the second week following discontinuation – and can persist for 2 to 3 months until ECL cells (i.e. Enterochromaffin-like cells) normalize. That said, if omeprazole withdrawal symptoms occur, symptoms might emerge by the fifth day of discontinuation – and remain noticeable for an average of 10 days.
Understand that most former omeprazole users will notice a reduction in withdrawal symptoms once they’ve been off of the medication for at least 2 weeks. Additionally, most former users are likely to be fully recovered within 3 months of omeprazole cessation. If symptoms persist for longer than 3 months after quitting omeprazole – these might be symptoms of a preexisting medical condition (rather than withdrawal symptoms).
How to minimize the severity of Omeprazole withdrawal symptoms
Though many people have successfully discontinued omeprazole without any withdrawal symptoms, others might: (1) be concerned about prospective withdrawal symptoms OR (2) be experiencing withdrawal symptoms after omeprazole cessation. To minimize the severity of omeprazole withdrawal symptoms – consider following the recommendations below.
- Work with a medical doctor: For your personal safety, it is never recommended to quit omeprazole without first consulting a medical doctor. A medical doctor will be able to help you develop a tapering protocol – and/or recommend omeprazole alternatives (if necessary). Moreover, a medical doctor will be able to recommend safe supplements and/or lifestyle changes that you can make to minimize the likelihood of a difficult withdrawal.
- Omeprazole transition: To completely avoid withdrawal symptoms following omeprazole cessation, a medical doctor may recommend transitioning to a different proton-pump inhibitor OR acid-reducing agent. Assuming you have a chronic medical condition for which treatment with an acid-reducing agent is necessary – you probably won’t want to quit omeprazole without having an alternative medication – as symptoms of your condition will return.
- Omeprazole taper: If you plan on quitting omeprazole and all acid-reducing agents, then it may be better to conduct a slow taper (dosage reduction) rather than quitting cold turkey. According to Haastrup et al. (2014), tapering is a more effective method of PPI discontinuation than cold turkey cessation. Researchers Pasina et al. (2016) recommend halving the dose for 4 to 8 weeks before stopping. Other online sources recommend tapering at a rate of 25% per week (or reducing the dose by 25% each week until down to nothing).
- Use medications & supplements: While discontinuing omeprazole, it is recommended to use all medications and/or supplements that are recommended by a medical doctor. Using prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and/or dietary supplements may help prevent rebound acid hypersecretion and/or debilitating discontinuation symptoms.
- Live a healthy lifestyle: Living a healthy lifestyle such as by eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, minimizing stress, and getting adequate sleep – should make it easier to cope with withdrawal symptoms. Furthermore, living a healthy lifestyle might decrease the severity of withdrawal symptoms that you experience – and a resurgence of the medical condition for which omeprazole was prescribed to treat.
- Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25192903
- Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26931180
Best supplements for Omeprazole withdrawal symptoms
Included below is a list of supplements and/or products that may be helpful to use while withdrawing from omeprazole. Some of these supplements may help prevent and/or counteract rebound acid hypersecretion or attenuate the severities of various omeprazole discontinuation symptoms.
It is important to emphasize that not everyone will find these supplements to be useful after quitting omeprazole – or other proton-pump inhibitors. Moreover, never use any of the supplements listed below without first consulting a medical doctor – to ensure that they are safe for you to take (based on your current medical status and medication regimen).
Affiliate disclosure: All of the products listed below contain affiliate links such that I earn a small commission if you purchase through my link. That said, the price for each of the items is still the same (regardless of whether you buy through my link). If you found this article helpful and want to support the website – I’d appreciate a purchase through my links. (These are supplements I’d personally try if dealing with omeprazole withdrawal).
- Zinc carnosine: Zinc carnosine is a supplement that is thought to significantly improve gut health and function. Some individuals find that taking 75 mg to 150 mg per day improves symptoms of rebound acid hypersecretion and counteracts excessive gastric acid production.
- Glutamine powder: Glutamine is a supplement that has been shown to help restore intestinal tight gap junctions. Loss of tight gap junction integrity is frequently observed in “leaky gut syndrome” and among persons with dysbiosis. To improve gut health while stopping omeprazole, glutamine should be considered. (Some claim that taking 3 to 5 grams of glutamine twice per day works well).
- Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL): DGL is a form of licorice that is allegedly very helpful in counteracting excessive acid secretion while discontinuing omeprazole. Ingesting 2 to 3 DGL tablets about 30 minutes before each meal has been suggested to counteract upset stomach and gut irregularities among persons with excessive stomach acid.
- Digestive enzymes: Because your digestion may be impaired while withdrawing from omeprazole, it may be helpful to use digestive enzymes. Administering 2 to 3 capsules of digestive enzymes with each meal may help reduce indigestion and stomach pain associated with omeprazole discontinuation.
- Ginger root: Ginger is another supplement that may help: alleviate gastrointestinal irritation, prevent acid reflux, and counteract inflammation – while withdrawing from omeprazole. If you haven’t yet tried supplementing with ginger and are experiencing debilitating withdrawal symptoms – it may be worth a try.
- Probiotics: To ensure that your gut health remains optimized after stopping omeprazole, you may want to consider supplementing with a probiotic. Supplementing with a high-quality probiotic may help restore healthy gut bacteria, reverse preexisting gut abnormalities (e.g. intestinal permeability), and/or reduce peripheral inflammation.
- Magnesium citrate: Preliminary evidence indicates that persons with gastrointestinal dysfunction commonly have magnesium deficiencies. This considered, some believe that supplementing with magnesium can help reduce the severity of acid reflux. Because magnesium also reduces anxiety and muscle tension – it may be worth trying during omeprazole withdrawal.
- Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar diluted in water has been suggested to improve symptoms of acid reflux by modifying stomach pH to neutralize stomach acid. Though there’s no guarantee that apple cider vinegar will help, many claim that it does.
- Bone broth: High-quality bone broth is suggested to have numerous health benefits, one of which is enhancing gut health. Bone broth is understood to contain glutamine – an amino acid that appears to restore tight gap junctions within the gastrointestinal tract.
- Multivitamin: It is understood that vitamin and mineral deficiencies might occur in long-term omeprazole users. If you’ve recently discontinued omeprazole, it may be smart to supplement with a multivitamin to ensure that you aren’t deficient in any major vitamins or minerals – as a deficiency might exacerbate withdrawal symptoms.
- Sugar-free gum: Chewing sugar-free gum is another intervention that may help counteract omeprazole discontinuation symptoms. Some research suggests that chewing sugar free gum for 30 minutes after a meal can significantly decrease postprandial acidic gastroesophageal reflux.
- Electrolytes: It’s possible that electrolyte levels may become imbalanced after stopping omeprazole – due to fluctuations in stomach acid. Because electrolyte deficiencies might cause and/or exacerbate certain withdrawal symptoms, you may want to consider using a high-quality electrolyte supplement.
- Krill oil: Krill oil is a supplement that contains highly-bioavailable omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA). The omega-3 fatty acids within krill oil are capable of reducing inflammation and counteracting oxidative stress. Because inflammation and oxidative stress might increase during omeprazole withdrawal, it might be helpful to supplement with krill oil.
- Curcumin: This is a supplement that is understood to decrease inflammation throughout the body. Because inflammation might increase after discontinuing omeprazole (due to changes in acid production and gut bacteria), curcumin supplementation is worth considering. Furthermore, some claim that curcumin might even help reduce symptoms of gastroesophageal conditions.
- Cayenne pepper extract: Though Cayenne pepper extract might exacerbate acid reflux for some individuals, others have reported that it completely counteracts their acid reflux symptoms. If you’re struggling with severe acid reflux after quitting omeprazole, you may want to consider trying Cayenne pepper supplementation.
Have you experienced Omeprazole withdrawal symptoms?
If you’ve successfully discontinued omeprazole, feel free to leave a comment about whether you experienced withdrawal symptoms. If you experienced withdrawal symptoms after stopping omeprazole, mention: (1) when the withdrawal symptoms started (after discontinuing omeprazole); (2) the specific withdrawal symptoms that you experienced; (3) the severities of your symptoms; (4) how long your symptoms lasted; and (5) any tactics you used to reduce the severities of your symptoms.
Also provide additional details about your omeprazole treatment such as: how long you used omeprazole before discontinuing; the dosage that you used; whether you tapered off vs. quit cold turkey; and whether you used substances (e.g. acid reducing agents) in withdrawal. Furthermore, be sure to mention the medical condition for which omeprazole was originally prescribed – and share why you decided to stop taking omeprazole.