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Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Forum
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Avatar universal

Long term effects of taking Nexium?

Hi, I am a 19yrs old, and have had GERD for 7yrs now, but was only properly diagnosed at 16yrs old, and I have been taking Nexium for 10 months now. My last doctor told me I'd be taking Nexium for the rest of my life, and gave me a 6 month prescription before I moved (2 months ago). Is Nexium safe to use long term or not? Have there been any tests? I can't see a doctor until a month or 2 yet because I am not eligible for a medical plan here until then. Has Nexium been shown to suppress your immune system? I have a cold, and I nearly passed out in class this morning. I always seem to get way sicker than normal people do. Is there anything I can do to help my body cope? My GERD is severe, and I sleep in a hospital bed, stick to a strict diet, and do everything I'm supposed to, and it's not getting any better. I'm barely breaking even with Nexium. Can anyone relate?
38 Responses
Avatar universal
I am taking 40mg Nexium once a day.
Avatar universal

You can do some research online about Nexium and immune suppression and see what turns up. Google is a great search engine.

I haven't found anything that indicates immune system suppression but there are a considerable number of side effects to careful about. Those side effects can lead to a decline in overall health.

I took Nexium for 10 weeks and I couldn't tolerate it at 40mg. It really messes my system up. Although I may try to use the 20 mg.  My vision is definitely affected by Nexium.

Andy

Avatar universal
It is safe to take Nexium forever. Nexium is the newest of the class of drugs called Proton Pump Inhibitors. It is pretty much the same as Prilosec. Others include Prevacid, Protonix,Aciphex. This class of drugs has been shown to be safe when taken long term. People have taken these drugs for as long as 11 years without any longterm problems. Another option for you is Antireflux surgery or Laparoscopic Fundoplication. This would most likely cure your reflux and allow you to discontinue the Nexium.
Avatar universal
Many people are saying to dump out some of the capsule's contents and taking a lower dosage. I am unable to do that as my pills are in pill form and not capsule form. As I am unable to try this, how beneficial is taking a lower dosage? Does it have the same effect with fewer side effects? Does it lower the effectiveness of the medicine? Is it worth me going to the doctor and changing my dosage?
Avatar universal
Try Nexium 20mg once a day
Avatar universal
I have done research on Proton Pump Acid Inhibitors and have talked to my doctor about it. They lower or block your stomach acid and your body needs this acid as alot of vitamins are absorbed through the stomach acid...mainly vitamin B12 and without this you will experience tingling in your fingers and toes as it is an vital vitamin for the nervous system. If your body goes without this vitamin for a long term it will damage your nervous system.
You should talk to your doctor as you may not be getting the vitamins your body needs which in turn will have an effect on your immune system.You may end up getting more colds and flues for a long duration. Alot of people are not aware that many of our nutrients are absorbed through our stomach acid and when it is blocked or largely suppressed you will not be getting vital nutrients your body requires.
virgo
Avatar universal
I am taking a vitamin C pill and a multivitamin pill every morning as well as my Nexium, and I haven't gotten any tingling feelings as of yet. How serious is vitamin B12 deficiency?
Avatar universal
Marygold, I agree 100% with Virgo! Vitamin B-12 deficiencies due to taking acid blockers, can be severe, causing peripheral neuropathies &/or central nervous system nerve damage. People on acid blockers also become deficient in other parts of Vitamin B-complex, minerals (including Calcium, Magnesium, etc.), various trace minerals, and have trouble digesting and absorbing amino acids (end product of protein digestion), etc.

There's a great "neuro" forum that you should post a question on, and  address your question to "Rose". It's the "Peripheral Neuropathy" forum, over at <a href=http://www.braintalk.org>http://www.braintalk.org</a>

I will also post some Gastric Reflux Tips that you can ask your doc about, and if you & your doc have no objections, give the tips a try for at least 2 weeks. Hopefully, you'll be pleasantly surprised as many have been (not all, but many) who have tried these tips.

These tips, if they help you, can be continued, while you (under close medical supervision, & if safe for you) slowly, slowly wean off acid blockers. Then, continue using the tips (if safe for you), until your reflux is under good control for about 3 months.

Then, you can either continue using the tips, as maintenance, or, slowly wean off them, and see what happens. No matter what, keep being monitored by competent specialist docs.

Good luck to you.

Sincerely, Concerned lady
<a href=http://www.cantbreathesuspectvcd.com>http://www.cantbreathesuspectvcd.com<a/a>
Avatar universal
Some GASTRIC REFLUX TIPS (without acid blockers):

Please check with your doctor, first, before trying these tips to be sure they are safe, in your particular situation.

GER=Gastro-Esophageal Reflux. (Gastro=stomach. Esophagus=food tube.)

LPR= Laryngeal-Pharyngeal Reflux. (Larynx=voice box, containing the 2 vocal cords. Pharynx=throat, above the larynx. The larynx is above the trachea/windpipe.)

Reflux=acidic or alkaline stomach material that backs up into the esophagus (food tube), causing any of these problems (at least): VCD/Vocal Cord Dysfunction/Laryngospasm attacks, cough, voice problems, asthma, globus (feeling of lump in throat), constant need to clear throat, much extra throat mucus, worsening of sinus condition, sore throat, laryngitis, voice problems, pre-cancerous conditions of throat &/or esophagus, etc.

SOME GER/LPR CONTROL THINGS WE DO, that we learned from the excellent book: STOMACH AILMENTS AND DIGESTIVE DISTURBANCES, by Michael T. Murray, N.D. See page 9, References, in my website: http://cantbreathesuspectvcd.com   and, also see GER/LPR info on page 5, and on LINKS page.

PLEASE READ THIS GREAT BOOK. It may possibly be bought on-line, from Michael T. Murray
Avatar universal
Thanx, but I don't have a doctor. My last doctor had no interest in treating me, he would just write out the prescription and send me out. I tried asking him questions, but he didn't, couldn't, or wouldn't give me any solid answers. I've also just moved and my medical in BC expired, and I'm not eligible to get a medical plan/coverage in this province for a while yet, and then I have to find a doctor which will probably take a while longer. Do I have to ask a doctor's advice? I've done lots of research on my own, and I've been going to the doctors' websites on this stuff, and asking lots of people, such as my biology prof and some medical and pharmacy students and profs. (There are up sides to going to University.) Since I can't get any "official" medical advice, what should I do? I'm on my own, and I've been treating myself on my own for so long, even before I was even properly diagnosed. I figured out that raising the head of my bed brought relief even before my formal diagnosis. I am my own doctor because no one else is. Sometimes it's great to talk to someone who knows about this stuff too, and that's why I'm here. Bounce a few ideas around, get a new perspective, and not feel like I'm so alone with this. I wish my old doc had told me about some sort of support group. I dunno why he didn't. I'm still looking for one around here, but I'm not having too much luck. I've never really been under medical supervision ever. I've become fiercely independent.
Avatar universal
Hi Marygold:

Sounds like you have been forced to be independent. You need to do whatever steps are required to regain your medical coverage eligibility as soon as possible, because while you are doing the right things (sleeping with your bed eleveated, watching your diet, etc) you need professional medical care. Like you, I suffered from GERD for many years. I am much older than you (47) and eventually I had the worst possible outcome one can have from longterm GERD. You are much too young not to get it treated. In your case, it sounds like surgery to tighten the Lower Esophageal Sphincter ("LES") is needed, but you need professional medical care to be sure.

As to the conflicting advice you recieved on long-term Nexium use, IT IS NOT benign over the long term. Virgo57 is right about the Vitamin absorption problems long tem use can cause. Beyond that, prolonged use of PPIs can cause gastric cancer. I have been using them since 1989, non-stop, and in each of my last two semiannual endoscopies, gastric polyps were found and removed. Fortunately, they were benign, but my surgeon tells me they are almost assuredly the result of such long term use of PPIs. If your only option is chronic reflux or Nexium, by all means continue to use the Nexium. However, you're too young to be put at risk from such a long term problem, and you really need to do whatever you have to in order to get back to a GOOD doctor (sounds like your last one was a jerk). GERD can be successfully treated by surgical strengthening of the LES, but again, you need a good doc to work with you.

Good luck. I know what you are going through!

Best regards,
Chicken Soup
Avatar universal
i definately agree that nexium might have something with you just getting sick with everything all the time.  I have been on Nexium for 7 months now, and I just get everthing!  the flu, colds, just not feeling well, etc.  I think it has something to do with not enough vitamins getting absorbed and therefore you're getting sick (like virgo said)  best of luck, hope it all works out
Avatar universal
You are giving misleading informatin about the prolonged use of PPI's. There is not one documented case in which long term use of a PPI has caused Gastric or Esophageal cancer. People in Europe have been taking these drugs a lot longer than people in the U.S.
Avatar universal
This is the first time I have ever heard anyone describe the symptoms of GERD like I have. I do not have heartburn, but feel a lump in my throat, a constricting feeling, I have a sore throat a lot, excessive mucous, constantly clearing my throat.  Doctor is also surprised when I complain of these symptoms. I  have been diagnosed with a sliding hiatial hernia, and been told I have "silent" heartburn. Have been told to take Prilosec, and have been taking it about one year, with no change. Some days I am really bad with constricting feeling in throat.  I am glad I read your post, I was beginning to think that something else was wrong, besides my hiatial hernia. I think i will research more on this "globus" you talked about.
Avatar universal
I was wondering what hospital and what surgeon you used? Maybe he/she could help me. I need some help. I don't want to make my situation worse with the surgery but I don't want to suffer like I have been and still be at a risk for Esophageal cancer. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

     -Erik
Avatar universal
Hi Eric:

First, it is good to see you post again! You've been away too long, and you have always been one of the most informative members on this Board (at least in my view).

As for your view that my post contained misleading information, the information came from my surgeon, who is recognized as one of the leading esophageal cancer surgeons in the US. I am inclined to accept his opinion.

I am also aware that Europe is less conservative in their approval process than the US FDA. In the late 1980's I was on Prilosec for a prolonged period when its use in the US was generally limited to no longer than 6 or 8 weeks because it caused stomach cancer in rats. At that time, it was already in widespread and longer term use in Europe.

I am not claiming that my esophageal cancer was caused by prolonged use of PPIs. I don't believe that it was. I am certian that it was the result of long-term GERD, which finally led to a very long segment of Barrett's, then High Grade Dysplasia, then cancer.

I do believe that there can be long-term adverse consequences from very long-term PPI use, including the possibility of stomach cancer. Again, I am relying on my surgeon for that information. I hope I don't find out the hard way, because after last year's esophagectomy, there isn't much internal plumbing left for them to take out of me!!

I have no idea how to quantify the long-term stomach cancer risk. I assume that long term PPI use is preferable to no treatment and enduring GERD over the long term. Unfortunately, I know what longterm GERD can lead too. The best course is to alter one's lifestyle and diet to control the GERD, if possible. If that is not enough, surgery to strengthen the LES should be considered. In all cases, PPIs should be considered in the shot to intermediate term, until one can fix the GERD problem. However, once we're talking about long-term PPI use, my surgeon tells me there is a stomach cancer risk.

I suppose from time to time you and I will hold differing views, although I expect only on rare occasions. Please rest assured that I am not speculating when I post comments like the one to Marygold. I am either relating my personal experience, or, as in this case, passing on what my doc told me. For me to speculate or mislead someone on this site would be immoral and dangerous. I have no intention of doing so.

I am happy to see you back on the board, and hope that you stay with us. You add a lot of value.

Best regards,
Chicken Soup
Avatar universal
I am sorry to hear about your Esophageal cancer and Esophagectomy. I take it that you had the stomach pull-through procedure following the ressection? Or was it the Interposition of the Colon? I didn't realize that you had EC from reading your recent posting. I guess I've been away from this forum too long.
How are you doing with eating and reflux since the procedure?
I am having persistant reflux despite Nexium 80mg and Pepcid. I am on the edge of surgery for the fourth time. Due to the scar tissue from the previous surgeries, the Surgeon is afraid that he could inadvertantly damage the esophagus during the surgery and have to do an Esophagectomy. I am scared to have the surgery and scared not to and face the possible consequences. Esophageal cancer and/or Barrett's.

I do believe it is possible for long term use of PPI's to cause problems and maybe pre-cancerous polyps, I just meant that there were no documented cases in medical literature to date. Please let me know how you are doing?
Avatar universal
I live in Pittsburgh, so I used Dr. Rodney Landreneau at Allegheny General/West Penn ("AGH"). He did the transhiatal esophagectomy ("THE"). There is another outstanding esophagectomy surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center ("UPMC") named James Luketich who sees patients from all around the country. Both hospitals were listed in USNews' top 50 cancer centers the past several years (This year I think AGH was 47th and UPMC was 11th). I can get you their office numbers and addresses if you would like.

I don't blame you for being concerned about the prospects of the esophagectomy. It is MAJOR surgery. My surgery lasted 15 hours (they're don't usually last that long), and the risks associated with the procedure itself are pretty worrisome. If you need to go that route, please be sure you pick a surgeon that has done alot of these procedures at a large, well-known medical center. Mortality rates (defined as surgery plus 30 days) run from 2% - 3% at the best hospitals with skilled surgeons to as high as 29% at small community hospitals. So, in this case, "practicing" medicine is very important. Of course, the younger you are the better you will tolerate the surgery. I guess, in an odd way, I was lucky to be diagnosed last year at 46 years of age.

I have ongoing problems with aspiration, which is a product of the new plumbing, but it is getting more manageable. I'll also be going for an incisional hernia repair after the holidays. The nine inch incision from breast bone to navel has herniated twice now. Other than that, things are going well.

I hope you don't need the surgery, but if you do, I have a wealth of information from my research going in to the surgery that I can pass on to you. There is also a great esophageal cancer support group on line that I can direct you to. You could solicit information from them (even if you don't have cancer), because virtually all of the members have had esophagectomies.

Best of luck to you, and please stay on this board as often as you can. Your advice and information has been of great benefit to alot of people, and we need all the sage advice we can get.

Chicken Soup

Avatar universal
Dear Zelda,

Thanks! These "tips" don't work for everyone, but they do work for many, including my hubby & me, and many who have written to me, when they found my VCD website (Vocal Cord Dysfunction), at http://cantbreathesuspectvcd.com

The most common cause of the VCD attacks (laryngospasms) in the people who have written to me (over 200, so far) is a type of GERD called LPRD/Laryngeal-Pharyngeal Reflux Disease. It's a "higher" up form of reflux than the "heartburn" type.

I hope you'll try out all those tips (if you & your docs have no objections), and let us know how they work for you. Give the tips a 2 week trial (every day), at least.

Good luck to you!

Sincerely, Concerned lady
Avatar universal
I wish the best for you both, and I apologize for some older, previous messages in which I was being an old cynic. You both are good people!

Concerned lady
http://cantbreathesuspectvcd.com
Avatar universal
Hi Concerned Lady:

I can't remember any previous posts from you that you should feel you need to apologize to me for, but I do appreciate your best wishes and kind sentiment.

best regards,
Chicken Soup
Avatar universal
I am just now running out to exercise my credit card and refill my prescription for Nexium.

I have been taking Losec (prilosec in US, I think?) or Nexium for about 12 years.  I have found it to be essential to control severe heartburn, which begins to reappear about 36 hours after my last dose.  It has also been found to control a chronic cough that I suffered with for about 15 years prior to finding a very thorough, progressive respirologist who nailed the GERD diagnosis.

I am 47, and have a variety of ailments and complaints, from plantar fascitis and working all the way up to ringing in the ears.  I'm not apt to blame the Losec or Nexium for any of them.  I had a very thorough gastro workup a little less than a year ago, with no problems found.

I'm continuing with Nexium for now;  we discussed laparoscopic fundoplication, mainly because the provincial health plan covers surgery, but not prescription drugs;  I decided against the surgery because I'm feeling fairly well controlled, and the surgery carries its own set of risk and side effects.  I was particularly swayed by a note I saw somewhere, that indicated there was a 1 in 50 chance that the laparoscopic approach would not work so that traditional open surgery would be undertaken.  

I was unaware of the effect on vitamin absorption, and resolve to start taking vitiman supplements more religiously, figuring that the more that's down there, the more that will get absorbed???
Avatar universal
Dear Person on the Provincial health care plan,

There's a great forum (Peripheral Neuropathy forum) over at http://www.braintalk.org where people such as "Rose" are very knowledgable about the vitamin mal-absorption leading to nerve damage problem, that is caused by acid blockers, and other things.

It's a helpful, supportive forum. I hope you'll check it out! :-)

Sincerely, Concerned lady
http://cantbreathesuspectvcd.com
Avatar universal
Dear Chicken Soup,

Thank you. I was once cantankerous in responding to someone whom you had responded to, when I was in an old cynic mood about the many poor quality docs out there. But, I wasn't against your good advice, so I do want you to know that I respect your advice a lot! :-)

Your kindness and gentle-ness of posts is contageous, and has taught me a good lesson.

Sincerely, Concerned lady
http://cantbreathesuspectvcd.com
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