Omeprazole is an OTC drug that belongs to the category of proton pump inhibitors which is a group of drugs that work to reduce gastric acid. It attaches to the ATPase pump and inhibits the proton production thereby reducing the acid production in the stomach. However, omeprazole cessation might make you add or lose some pounds.
So, are you experiencing weight loss after stopping omeprazole? Or is your weight fluctuation normal?
Well, tapering down omeprazole comes up with a bunch of withdrawal symptoms among which weight fluctuation is pretty common. Some people experience weight loss after stopping omeprazole while others experience the opposite. This entirely depends upon the changes in your appetite.
To learn all about the long-term side effects of omeprazole, read on.
Table of Content
What is Omeprazole?
Omeprazole is one of the most famous over-the-counter medicines for GERD that belongs to the category of proton pump inhibitors (PPI). It controls gastric acid production and is widely used to treat stomach and esophagus-related disorders such as acidity and ulcers.
Your stomach is a storehouse of highly acidic secretions. Patients with severe acidity issues find proton pump inhibitors quite effective for their condition. PPIs such as omeprazole work by inhibiting several acid-producing pumps by getting attached to them. It is used to treat:
- Erosive esophagitis
- Some infections
The normal daily dose is 20 mg and it may take up to 4 days to act fully. To avoid any mishap, make sure to read the instructions carefully before consuming omeprazole. Moreover, it can also be used along with some antibiotics to get rid of bacteria that cause gastric ulcers.
Side Effects of Omeprazole
Keeping the benefit of being an OTC medicine aside, there are plenty of side effects that can be troublesome. Although the side effects won’t show up in all the consumers but if you experience the following persistent conditions, then make sure to consult your pharmacist,
- Abdominal disorders (constipation, flatulence, diarrhea)
- Feeling nauseous
Some side effects of omeprazole are extremely rare but can show up if you’re using it in combination with any other medication.
- Extreme fatigue
- Hepatic disorders
- Severe diarrhea due to bacterial infection
- Dark urine and yellow skin
- Kidney problems
- Worsening lupus erythematosus
Allergic Reaction to Omeprazole
Serious allergic reactions to omeprazole are the rarest but can take place. It includes anaphylaxis, skin reactions such as rashes and itching, breathing difficulties, wheezing sounds, swelling, and chest tightness.
Several side effects associated with long-term omeprazole consumption include,
- Development of benign growths
- Weight fluctuations
- B-12 deficiency
Can I stop taking omeprazole?
“I feel terrible coming off omeprazole.” Is this what you’ve to say? Well, tapering off a proton pump inhibitor suddenly can turn into a big disaster! This is because your body becomes used to the supplement and produces less acid. A sudden omeprazole withdrawal might take you back to the serious acidity symptoms due to increased gastric acid production. Hence, make sure to seek professional advice when coming off omeprazole.
A question must be popping up in your mind right now, “How to stop taking omeprazole?” Well, stopping omeprazole can be a bit challenging but it isn’t impossible. Once you stop the consumption, you’ll experience several withdrawal symptoms for about 1-2 weeks. To stop omeprazole, you’ll have to make a proper plan that includes the following tips:
- Reduce your daily dosage. You can also decrease the dosage by half.
- You can also try an alternate day strategy when avoiding PPIs.
- Manage your stress
- Your diet should exclude the factors which are responsible for giving rise to acidity such as caffeine.
Omeprazole basically works by inhibiting the ATPase enzyme. Most people find omeprazole pretty effective against acid reflux. In case, the OTC drug doesn’t suit you or you experience serious aftereffects, then it’s better to discontinue it. However, the withdrawal will cause several symptoms such as acid regurgitation and weight fluctuations.
Common Side Effects of Stopping Omeprazole
Drug withdrawal is always associated with some possible aftereffects known as ‘withdrawal symptoms.” When you’re trying to taper down omeprazole, your body will respond to the withdrawal by showing discontinuation symptoms such as indigestion and acid regurgitation.
Those patients who are consuming a high dosage of omeprazole are more likely to experience some serious side effects. The root cause of nearly all the side effects remains constant which is “Hypersecretion of gastric acid.”
Omeprazole primarily controls gastric acid secretion. So, once you stop consuming the drug, your body starts producing more acid and due to the unavailability of omeprazole, the symptoms of heartburn might come back. However, all such flu-like symptoms will disappear within two to three weeks after omeprazole’s cessation.
Keeping the reflux symptoms aside, withdrawal is often accompanied by recurrent anxiety and panic attacks. Omeprazole withdrawal anxiety is rare but it can be caused due to an increase in cytokines production. Anxiety could also become a significant reason for appetite loss.
For reference, acid regurgitation is the condition in which the contents of the stomach are expelled back into the esophagus through the cardiac sphincter. The root cause of acid reflux is exactly similar to that of heartburn and dyspepsia. Those with GERD history are more likely to experience acid regurgitation after cessation of PPIs.
This must be surprising for you but omeprazole cessation will make you go through several prominent symptoms of acid reflux. This is because once you stop consuming it, the stomach secretes more acid than it does normally (hypersecretion) which gives rise to a burning sensation in the chest and towards the esophagus. Heartburn may last as long as 2-4 weeks after cessation.
Most people after omeprazole withdrawal experience nausea, bloating, fatigue, and flu-like symptoms. Dizziness is one of the most common side effects patients experience soon after drug withdrawal. Former omeprazole consumers have experienced dizziness immediately after cessation which stops within 14 days. Some vitamin deficiencies such as B12 can also make you feel tired.
For reference, dyspepsia is a medical condition associated with abdominal discomfort due to indigestion. The culprit for indigestion is exactly what was for heartburn, “hypersecretion of gastric acid.” It might worsen the pre-existing heartburn symptoms. Moreover, this condition might extend up to a month after cessation.
Weight Loss After Stopping Omeprazole
Being an omeprazole user, you must be aware of its concern with weight fluctuations. Acidity and weight loss sometimes run parallel. This is because several acid reflux symptoms such as nausea, bloating, and vomiting might suppress your appetite. Moreover, those who are obese are more likely to get their gastric contents bulging back into the esophagus.
Stopping omeprazole will always make you wonder about the associated weight changes. A common question, “Does stopping omeprazole cause weight gain” might be sitting inside your mind too. Well, there is no scientific study or research that supports an unexplained weight gain associated with omeprazole withdrawal. However, studies do support the fact that long-term omeprazole consumption can make you gain weight faster.
When it comes to proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole, reviews suggest that withdrawal is mostly concerned with weight fluctuations. Well, weight loss after stopping omeprazole isn’t really common. The changes in body weight might vary from person to person based on the withdrawal symptoms.
The changes in your appetite are solely responsible for the gain or loss of weight when tapering down PPI. Soon after stopping PPIs, some patients experience diarrhea as an Omeprazole withdrawal symptom. This could be a significant reason for your unexplained weight loss.
Long-term use of omeprazole shows serious concern with weight gain over time. Now, you must be wondering why omeprazole causes weight gain? Well, the actual reason is still unknown. Experts don’t recommend long-term usage of omeprazole for acidity or ulcers. An unexplained weight gain can be due to excess food consumption as the glandular system of the stomach is disturbed.
Question: Does omeprazole cause water retention?
Answer: For your knowledge, water retention is fluid accumulation which can also be known as edema. Based on a study, 0.45% of the people consuming omeprazole experience water retention. Moreover, it is more common in older women who have been consuming the drug for less than a month.
Question: What are the side effects of coming off omeprazole?
Answer: Coming off medicine is quite a difficult task because cessation is strongly associated with some aftereffects. When it comes to omeprazole, cessation initially is associated with several flu-like symptoms. The major three side effects of coming off omeprazole include heartburn, acid regurgitation, and dyspepsia. Several other aftereffects include anxiety, appetite loss, depression, abdominal disorders such as constipation and diarrhea, insomnia, and indigestion.
Question: Is omeprazole slowing my digestion?
Answer: Omeprazole significantly alters the process of digestion in your stomach. This is because of reduced acid production in the stomach which delays gastric emptying thereby altering digestion and taming up heartburn. So, indigestion, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and flatulence are some of the abdominal disorders omeprazole consumers are more likely to experience.
Omeprazole’s long-term usage is often concerned with some serious side effects such as gut infections, fractures, B-12 deficiency, and fatigue. However, some patients might face usual side effects such as nausea, bloating, and abdominal disorders. A sudden weight loss after stopping omeprazole might be because of the changes in your appetite. Weight fluctuations are not something to worry about. However, try to consume a healthy diet and avoid food items that can give rise to symptoms of acid reflux.