3 Steps to Help You Safely Transition Off Acid Reflux Medications
Many people who suffer from acid reflux and GERD are either on or have been on acid reflux medications. After all, this is pretty much the only option most people are offered.
But the FDA has warned that these drugs are only safe to take for treatment periods of 14 days — a far cry from what many doctors prescribe for their patients. And worse, few doctors even mention that there are safe and effective alternatives.
That’s why I wrote a book, The Drug-Free Acid Reflux Solution.
One of the problems associated with using acid reflux medications is that they create dependency, causing horrible symptoms when someone tries to quit cold turkey. As you can imagine, this makes people believe that they will never be able to get off of these medications. As I explain in The Drug-Free Acid Reflux Solution, nothing could be further from the truth. What you do have to expect is that your symptoms might get worse as you start to lower the medications. This reaction will be temporary, and it can be significantly reduced using the lifestyle, diet and supplement interventions detailed in the book. Nonetheless, it is likely to occur and should be anticipated.
The guidelines that follow apply specifically to people who have been taking a proton-pump inhibiting medication for more than four weeks. It’s also important to discuss any change in your medication with your doctor. Although I firmly believe most people can succeed in managing acid reflux without pharmaceuticals, every case is different.
Here is a snapshot of how I have successfully helped hundreds of people wean off dangerous acid-blocking drugs:
When patients start my Reflux Recovery Diet, I recommend they remain on their prescribed reflux medication for the first 14 days. In those 14 days, patients eliminate all sugar, gluten, alcohol and dairy from their diet, while increasing intake of specific fruits, vegetables, fiber and probiotic-rich foods. However, along with these changes to the diet, I recommend my patients take natural supplements known to sooth tissue and optimize digestion, such as deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL), aloe and slippery elm
After 14 days on the Acid Reflux Recovery Plan, it’s time to start the weaning process.On the 15th day, I recommend switching from a proton-pump inhibiting medication to an over-the-counter histamine-blocking acid reflux medication. Yes, this is still an acid suppressing drug, but it’s significantly weaker than a proton-pump inhibitor. The safest and most widely available over the counter histamine blocking reflux drug is called ranitidine (Zantac). Take 1 tablet of the regular strength (75 mg) 1x daily in addition to the measures outlined above every day for another 14 days, while continuing with the tissue soothing supplements.
Now we’re getting to the end of the program, and it’s time to start really pulling back on the pharmaceutical interventions by cutting back on the histamine-blocking acid reflux medication dose to every other day for another 14 days, while continuing with the tissue soothing supplements.
After this last round of 14 days (6 weeks after beginning the plan to wean off medications), most of my patients are ready to discontinue medications altogether.
Some Points to Note:
Although great results are often seen within the first few weeks of the program, I urge patients take the full 42 days to wean off of any prescription medication.
I also recommend individuals continue taking the supplements for at least another 30-60 days, along with adhering to the dietary measures to ensure best results.
Throughout this process, some may experience times when there are increased symptoms. This may be the result of reducing the medication, or other influences like stress, dietary indiscretions or other common triggers. This is typically when I recommend the addition of zinc carnosine to the supplement regimen, which typically helps tremendously. Typically, the symptoms will resolve within about 3-5 days.
If reflux symptoms persist, be sure to consult with your doctor. The symptoms you are experiencing may be a sign of something more serious.
Please remember that some worsening of symptoms is likely to occur, but do not be fearful. If interested in a simple 30-day to help you safely recover from reflux, you can use the strategies and tools outlined in The Drug-Free Acid Reflux Solution — you will be acid reflux and medication-free in no time!