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Long term use of Omeprazole


I am a long term user of this medicine and wanted to share my experience of this medicine and my condition which was diagnosed some 15 years ago.

I was diagnosed with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), I have for many years suffered with diahorea stomach bloating and general pain and discomfort in my stomach. I have had several endoscopys and various other tests including an ultrasound and at first they discovered nothing unusual and put it all down to IBS. I had several treatments for Helicopacter Pylori and I am still not sure if it ever cleared up. I recently had an operation to remove my gallbladder and gallstones after the acid reflux was very troublesome. I have now since had another endoscopy which has showed I have a hiateul hernia. I have been on Omeprazole for over four years after having acid reflux type symptoms along with my IBS. I wanted to ask about being on this medicine long-term and the possible other organs in my body that could be damaged. I still have very bad indigestion and stomach aches and wondered if these tablets actually work for me anymore

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  • Guest


    I have only been on Omeprazole for about 3 months but I have found it an absolute life saver. I combine it with Domperidone or \"Motilium\" and the combination is bloomin brilliant for my IBS! I tested negative for H.pylori and so the docs and I are pretty sure it's as simple as IBS and no stomach ulcers or ugly cancers etc (I'm only 25!). My IBS got progressively worse from the age of about 18 until I HAD to go to the docs and demand they give me something as I was off work I was that ill.

    I've found that making sure my \"trigger foods\" are under strict suveillance, my stress levels are reasonable and remembering my meds works wonders.

    Good luck with your meds and from my experience Omeprazole is the best thing that could have happened to me!

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  • Guest

    Hi HG84

    Found this site earlier today which lists some bad signs for long term use....


    (ad the 3 w's in front as otherwise i can't post it)

    Like with anything on the internet though i wouldn't take whats said their as gospel....

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  • Guest

    I am 52 and I have been on Omeprazole 20mg for about 18 years now.

    I started when it was only available as Losec. It completetly changed my life for the better.

    Pretty early on I found that taking the 20mg every other day worked best for me unless I feel I have a particularly acidic reaction to some food in which case I just take an extra one.

    I can say hand on heart that I have been lucky enough to experienced absolutely no side effects. However, I know that I would not now be able to give the drug up. After so many years my body is so used to the regular drug that if I was to miss, say, three days I would get an uncomfortable reaction - But I am quite happy to stay on it for the rest of my life and have no worries.

    I felt I should post this because you always get lots of negative reation posted on the internet making people frightened and I wanted to provide a positive side.

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  • Guest

    I am a 34 year old woman that went undiagnosed for 14 years until a holiday to the US. I too was diagnosed with gallstones, had my gall bladder removed and subsequently was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia. I was initially presecribed 10mg omeprazole and over the years this has increased to 40mg. I have not suffered any of the side effects listed but I too know that I will be on this drug for the rest of my life.

    I have read negative feedback but wanted to say that it has completely changed my life. It may be that you also need to increase your dosage so I would speak to your doctor.

    Any other feedback from other people regarding long term use and also its effect on pregnancy would be appreciated.

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  • busygal

    I am a 71 year old female, and I have been taking Omeprazole for about 15 years, and I also find it to have been a life saver for me.

    To my knowledge, I have had no bad side effects whatsoever, and I cannot get through an entire day without it. I have severe discomfort in my chest and heartburn without it. With it, I eat anything I want. It is the one medication I couldn't do without.

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  • laf

    I am 51..i have suffered digestion troubles for quite a few years one way and another..ive had gut candida,ibs,indigestion and other food related aggravations! Anyway, and after taking omeprazole prescribed by my GP for a month or so i felt great and could eat or drink anything,so,i stopped, thinking that all was now well !...within a week it all started again.I struggled on feeling really miserable and getting nowhere even though i was trying to avoid..bread (which im still not happy about eating) lemons,oranges,celery,wine,salmon,any oily fish,onions...loads of other every day things! So,back on omeprazole....problem cured !!!! im so grateful for this 'letters' page,it was on my mind as to whether you could indeed take the 'wonder drug' long term. im happier after reading other peoples experiences..thank you.

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  • Potty P

    I have just stopped taking 20mg omeprazole daily, having been on it for over 3 years. I was previously on ranitadine (can't remember how to spell that). I was prescribed it for acid reflux as a result of anxiety disorder, stress and a mood disorder. So, clearly I was on many other meds too. Having said that, I haven't knowingly experienced and side affects to the omeprazole.

    However, I stopped taking it 2 days ago as I had been advised to do so by my gynaechologist as I'm wishing to become pregnant. It has warnings about using this drug in pregnancy. It's a no no.

    So, how've I been ? Today I'm significantly better. The first 2 drug free days were hell. My acid levels rose and rose and kept me awake all night. I read in my herbal remedies and supplements book that acidophilus (again not sure about spelling) the probiotic, is a useful alternative. I take this in tablet form from a reputable health food shop daily anyway for breakfast, so I helped myself to another one. It settled it down a lot, though didn't completely cure it. The next day I bought some indigestion tablets as my book recommended calcium carbonate (chalk essentially) and my pharmacist didn't do a generic compound. By evening I was acid free after just 4 tablets. Today, I've needed none.

    I was warned that reflux could return once meds are stopped, but thankfully it was short lived.

    WARNING I have read this week that omeprazole can, over long term use, cause magnesium deficiency. I was advised to take magnesium, together with copper, as a supplement.. Taking magnesium alone can deplete copper supplies in the body, apparently. It's worth researching magnesium deficiency on the net to see if any of the symptoms sound like you.

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  • rodger1

    Hi - similarly I have been using omeprazole for many years - about 10 maybe. initially i used it for about 1 month until the hiatus hernia symptoms cleared up, but they came back again. My doctor told me to just take it "on demand" - whenever I felt i needed it. Well it works out that I take one capsule per day, usually at bed time and it keeps all symptoms at bay. I dont get the symptoms every day but just about. So I take the omeprazoe every day. I dont see any side effects - my hair is fine, my dick is fine, my teeth are still there... seems ok.

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  • mmsqgo

    Hello, I have been taking omeprazole on / off for good 3 years but lately my chemist told me it's not the best thing to do and that omeprasole can cause even cancer so I got bit scared. I googeled a bit and yes there are few worrying signs of prolonged use of omeprasole. I have no side effects and my body seams to work fine, I take usually one pill every other day during evening time. I am bit confused now so planning to see doctor and ask for advice, are there other better medicines?

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  • mag2

    Hi ... As a child I always felt sick .. especially at night when I lay down in bed ... there was no trips to the doctor so I just lived with it ... when I got to teenage years it became acid bubbling up and I started to drink gallons of bicarbonate soda mixed in a bottle of water ... it helped a little bit !! Then after years of this I got a pain in my chest .. got worried and went to see my GP ... He sent me to the hospital for a tube down my throat test ... it found that I had tiny little ulcers around the opening of my stomach ... also that the valve to my stomach wasn't closing properly .... Reflux !!!! So they put me on Omeprazole ... OMG wonder drug !!! I had been taking pantaprazole for a year or so with a little change ! I have been taking Omeprazole for about 5 years now 20mg twice a day ... if I forget to take one I know about it with acid , chest pain and feeling sick !! My GP wants me to cut down to one a day and I totally refuse to !!! As far as Im concerned its to save NHS money !!

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  • Safarisue

    I came on this site as I have been taking 20mg Omaprazole ever since I had my gall bladder out 10yrs ago recently I have been suffering with acid reflux so thinking I may have a bigger problem went to the doctors who just told me to double the dose. Having read everyone's comments I'm not as worried as I was but I think I will still get a second opinion to see if there is another problem that the Omaprazole is masking.

    thanks everyone for the information very useful.

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  • Madness

    I was taking Omeprazole (Losec) 20 mgs for around 10 years and it was most effective for acid reflux.

    I have had a hiatus hernia from birth and though not over weight, I found that as I got older the symptoms became worse as time went by.

    Following a series of events, my medication was changed to Nexium 40mgs (this is of the same group of drugs but stronger) Both work by preventing the secretion of hydrocholric, stomach acid.

    Incidentally, this does not stop reflux, it merely stops the burning sensation in the Oesophagus thus making it non painful to the patient. Reflux still occurs but damage is still occurring to the Oesophagus and since the introduction of these ppi's (proton pump inhibitors) there has been an increase in cancer rates, thought to be because the patient is less aware of the reflux and subsequently not avoiding foods that increase the reflux in the first place.

    Within 24 hours I was experiencing tinitus and vertigo big time, so much so that I fell onto my hand and sustained a very nasty fracture...this led to a DEXA scan which showed me to have Osteoporosis in my spine ( a spine of someone 30+ years my senior) and my hip, Osteopenia elsewhere. I was horrified and terrified as Id blindly taken medication and not done any in depth research.

    I decided to research and found that it is said that PPI's (Omeprazole and Nexium being two of them) cause the body not to absorb Magnesium and other nutrients/vitamins thus, over time causing the early onset of Osteoporosis. Of course, we have stomach acid for a reason, if we remove it, then it stands to reason that it cannot do its job and subsequently we will suffer the consequences. There have now been some test cases which have been silenced but successful in Courts.

    It occurred to me finally that I had to stop taking this medication and try to find a way of coping without this medication, this turned out to be a complete nightmare.

    I had no issue for 24 hours and then the acid literally flooded by into my stomach and I was in complete agony, even water caused production, I felt that if I didnt take more medication I might die, the pain was excruciating and worse when I tried to lie down and sleep. I had no sleep for several nights.

    It was so difficult to do this, my GP tried to persuade me to start the meds again even intermittently but I refused. Gaviscon was my only friend! I felt as though I had a huge lump in my throat which threatened to occlude my breathing.

    I searched and searched the internet for answers and finally found the blog of a man in Sweden who went through the same as me, it took him ages and then finally he met a Physician who suggested he might have a Lactose intolerance! This was one of those Eureka moments in life for me.

    All my life getting heart burn, I would drink milk to neutralise it and after a short time it would worsen and I would need more milk!

    Lactose eliminated from my diet changed my life, I am now very sensitive to it and if there is a small amount consumed, I am somewhat it agony..bloating, pain, acid, nausea, diarrhoea...a total nightmare!

    It really is essential to know what is causing a problem, so often it is a simple answer like nutrition, something you are sensitive to. Milk is not made for humans, its made to feed a calf to 500kgs!!

    Also, whilst I was taking the Omeprazole, I suffered increasing ill health, my immunity was terrible, I would catch anything going (I lived a healthy outdoor life and ate well, no pre made food)I ended up taking Antibiotics every few weeks and had incessant Chest Infections.

    Since removing this horrible drug from my life, almost 3 years ago, eating healthily, taking purely vitamins, minerals and oils NO medication other than Gaviscon as and when ... I have had no chest infections, no colds, no illness and NO Antibiotics. It takes time for the stomach to settle and it was the most painful experience but thank God I have adopted a very healthy life and now life is worth living.

    I am in the Medical profession and I do not deny the place for Modern medication, however like everything in life, look for the simple answer first. Look for the reason rather than immediately for the easiest solution!

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  • rjdriver

    I only took Omeprazole for one day. Had headaches and constricted throat, so stopped. Have read extensively about the long term side effects, and they are not good. While it brings blessed relief to those with constant heartburn, there should be a mandatory warning about the use of these PPI drugs.

    As someone else mentioned above, PPIs greatly reduce the production of stomach acid. The result is often insufficient absorption and metabolization of vitamins and minerals, particularly, calcium, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin D. Since most people don't get enough of these nutrients in their diet to begin with, it's not surprising that osteoporosis is the most well known side effect. It's already started, and the more severe lack cause by PPI use only accelerates the process, even in young people.

    But what are the other effects? Many of them are unknown as these drugs have not been around that long. But here's my speculation. Take it for what it's worth. If improper absorption of vitamins and minerals is the result, it can only get worse. It's interesting that many people in this forum who report long term PPI use, have also had gall bladder problems. I read the same thing in forum after forum. My neighbor's wife has been on PPIs for 5 years, and just informed me last week she need to have her gall bladder removed. While I have no medical explanation, I doubt this connection to gall bladder problems is a coincidence. And life only gets more complicated without a gall bladder. Neither PPIs or antacids can stop or neutralize bile acids.

    Since it's the actual presence of stomach acid breaking down the food in the stomach that causes the sphincter between the stomach and esophagus to close, isn't the use of acid suppressing drugs likely to keep it open longer and more often, allowing the little bit of acid that IS there, to get up too far? Is that why many people on PPIs while mostly free of acid indigestion still report occasional acid reflex into the throat? For those who have had their gall bladder removed and get that reflux, perhaps it's not stomach acid at all, but bile acid instead. Either bile or stomach acid will cause damage to the esophagus, and after repeated exposure, the esophagus will attempt to alter the cells in the damaged area to mimic stomach lining cells, which are a protective against such acids. This mutation of cells results in what's known as Barrett's Esophagus, and it can lead to cancer of the esophagus in a small percentage of those diagnosed with Barrett's..

    Even though esophageal cancer is still fairly rare, it's incidence has increased over the last 20. Is it just a coincidence that PPIs were introduced about 25 years ago? There ARE NO SYMPTOMS of cancer in the esophagus. A 60 year old lady where I work complained of headaches. After aspirin and prescription Motrin use did no good, an MRI revealed brain cancer. And it had already spread to the lymph nodes, spleen, and bones. She had part of her brain removed, and is on chemo, but the outlook is not promising. After several months of testing they finally determined where the cancer had started, in her esophagus. They estimate it had been growing for over a year. NO SYMPTOMS until the headaches, at which point it was beyond cure.

    Those of us with severe reflux or heartburn issues are the lucky ones in terms of catching this early. We get endoscopies, which is the only way to spot cancer in the esophagus in time. Let me restate that many of my conclusions above are speculative, because we just don't know. Please consult your doctor before stopping any medications, especially PPIs. They need to be weaned off of gradually to prevent a raging return of acid.

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  • rodger1

    Hi All, further to my earlier post re the wonders of Omeprazole and lack of side effects i can say that after reading other people's posts, i now realize I was/am suffering from side effects. A few years ago i started getting a lot of cramps and also problems with tendons, neck and back pains etc. I started taking calcium and then also magnesium supplements. This has helped the cramping and the tendon, joint problems. So I see the mention of side effects such as early onset of osteo etc probably have merit. i am still taking the Omeprazole - I have to, nothing else helps the hiatus hernia. The magnesium and calcium are probably necessary aspects of the therapy.

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  • Madness

    Omeprazole should only be used for periods of time and then rest, it should not be used continuously.

    When you stop taking this drug, you will experience a flood of acid, this is when people relent and take the Omeprazole again.

    Please dont ignore when people post regarding the side effects of this drug, they are real and they will destroy your bone structure, your immunity and will stop you being alerted to your stomach contents doing damage to your Oesophagus.

    The Medical field is beginning to recognise the issues:

    January 31, 2012: New research published in the British Medical Journal has found that women who take Prilosec or other Proton Pump Inhibitor medications regularly for at least two years have a 35% higher risk of suffering a hip fracture. Women who are post-menopausal and smoke had the greatest risk of a hip fracture.

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  • Dee Bee

    In April this year I underwent the Keyhole Nissen Fundoplication operation, which sadly went wrong. The surgeon unfortunately cut through two arteries, which meant they had to open me up, top to bottom. sad

    Afterwards, I experienced considerable Bloating pains, which I had been warned about. I stopped taking 30mg Lansoprazole and suffered worst acid reflux than before! Following my own research and advice from two other consultants, I was told that I was suffering from Rebound Reflux, due to suddenly stopping medication. I stopped taking medication in September after more slowly phasing out the PPI's over 3 months.

    In hindsight I would not put myself through a similar operation, but adapt to a more stricter diet and lifestyle! I feel I am no more better off now albeit with milder symptoms, but thankfully no longer taking any worrying medication.

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  • felicity c

    I have been taking omeprazole -( essentially this is bicarbonate of soda )- for 2 years as an ant- acid because I'm on naprosyn an anti inflamitory drug for my Anklyosing Spondilitus and lately had been experiencing really bad indigestion and stomach pains. I didnt know why until I heard a discussion on radio 4 about omeprazole and this made me stop taking it as it turns out not only can it cause the symtoms it is supposed to prevent but is also a cause of bone damage - oesteoporisis and arthritus.WHY ARE WE NOT WARNED OF THIS WHEN OUR GPS GAILY DISH OUT THIS DRUG ! Everyone - stop taking it now. Since I stopped I have felt better and have no stomach problems - I drink lots of water and make sure I eat when I take the naprosyn - simple but effective.

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  • rodger1

    Hi Felicity... I hear you!! I had been taking it for about 10 years?? I started to get all sorts of bone and joint problems, cramps etc. I had to take Omep every day or I got bad reflux. Someone on this site suggested that I change to Gaviscon which I did. The first couple of days I got acide but then things settled down. Now, I do not have to take Gaviscon every day, maybe every other day and I am not getting the reflux or pain (I had hiatus

    hernia). My back pains, joint aches and cramps have also improved drastically. I think I was well on the way to getting premature ostheoporosis. So, Thanks to the guy who wrote to me... Madness was his name, but not his demeanour..... Yeah, GP's - mine just told me to take Omep on demand and dont worry.... problem was my body demanded it every day and like you, I think the Omep got to a stage where it was producing the symptoms itself.

    Can you try gaviscon? I believe there are no side effects

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  • jme9928

    I am a 66 yr old male having been on 20 mg OMPRE for appx 25 years - A WONDER DRUG. nothing else works. After the recent negative publicity on OMPRE my doc suggested a bone density scan and thus I have osteoporosis in a couple of areas incl hip. I am in great shape, active, 165 lbs and eat well; lots of fruits and veggies. Thus the osterop. is a SHOCK to me. I tried the other OTC drugs (Zantac) to no avail. Had the endo and my esoph is fine. No H hernia, no Barrets, etc.

    My doc says... stay on the OMPRE for quality of life and begin taking 1600mg calcium and a magnesium each day... then in one year we will do the bone scan again and measure the progression of the osteoporosis.

    MY QUESTIONS ARE: Can I reverse the osterop 2.7? with calcium and magnesium & B12? with some weight bearing exercises ? What can I expect in the future? What else can I do? Will the calcium and some exercise really help reverse this? thank all.

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  • Madness

    Jme9928, firstly, I can totally understand you wanting to continue with a drug that makes lifes quality better. But, its very ,much like a sticking plaster which has 'God knows what' going on underneath it!

    Youre obviously very aware of the issues and side effects and suffering them now... it does beg the question..why would you want to keep putting this into your body (Im not intending to be rude asking that)

    Hydrochloric acid is produced to do a job, proton pump inhibitors stop production and this does cause problems. I would advise you to do as much research on everything, the drug, how the body utilises the acid and why you actually need it, then if you wish to continue taking the drug, its your body and your life.. but, Oteoporosis at its worse is devastating and if you are unable to stop or reverse this, you will be very miserable. 66 is very young smile

    Hydrochloric acid has many other uses also and you need to be aware of all this when making decisions (if you research, you will find that there are Lawyers in US who deal with claims now purely down to this drug effects..that has to sound alarm bells!)

    Its great that you find that you have no obvious physical problems causing the increased acid, so I ask; have you tried diet? So many people have intollerences of different food stuffs, they can come from additives, food production methods and even pesticides sprayed onto is killing himself!

    When taking yourself off the Omeprazole, you will undoubtedly experience horrendous amounts of acid being produced, its not for the feint hearted I assure you. When the Proton pumps start working again, they go heywire and have a party, it takes a good two weeks in my personal experience to have them start settling down. It is worth it if you can stand it, but along with this you do need to find out what your issue is.

    If you had a huge crack down the front of your house, would you paper over it, have it look great, everyone think it wonderful but underneath its crumbling?

    Youre young, healthy and obviously intelligent enough.. raise the head end of your bed a good 9 inches higher than the foot, find out what your food problems might be, get a good plant based calcium (forget the rock could drain it of the kettle and eat that! It clogs the arteries and kidneys)

    Eat a healthy diet, nuts, fruit, green veg and a Calcium complex tablet (plant based) with magnesium, vit D, vit K, Boron.etc

    There are many such complexes available, as oppose to what is available on NHS.

    Look at the ingredients in what you eat and drink, the artificial sweeteners produced to 'make us healthy' are doing quite the reverse, they destroy the body from within and we develop many side effects and illnesses in response to them. The chemicals make us very acidic and when our blood is acidic, it leaches calcium from our bones ..

    Try cutting down on meat, esp red meat or even cutting it out altogether. Google a 98yr cardiac surgeon in USA, he is incredible, he still operates and speaks at length on health and making your one and only life on this planet a happier one!

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    • guest007 »Madness

      Get off this drug as fast as you can. It was never intended and is not endorsed for long term use (over 2 weeks). Your best cure is to change what you eat.  Get rid of the foods that make you sick and you will be well wtihout losing your bones. No sugar, wheat, dailry or bad fats to start, and take a probiotic like it was your lifeline. Go for lean protein and vegetable diet and you will be amazed.  The bottom line: we ARE what we eat, illness included. Doctors will prescribe this drug as if it was water, even when I reported feeling worse--they upped the dose!  Also, you might find that beef that is not grass fed makes you sick--that's the corn talking (and other junk they put in cattle food). I discovered this in Argentina where livestock is grass fed (and grain foods are not all wheat)--my decades long symptoms vanished. Good food is your cure.

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