Dr. Eisner Q&A #5: Questions About Medications

Todd Eisner Health Guide
  • Today I'll address some more of the questions you've e-mailed me. As a reminder, I can only answer general questions, so I need to paraphrase some of your questions.

    Question #1: I was diagnosed with acid reflux in November. I was put on AcipHex. I immediately starting having daily horrible anxiety attacks (ER twice and EMS called once). I think AcipHex was the cause--it is listed as a side effect. However, now I am not taking anything for three days and this lump feeling in the base of my throat is continuing to make me feel anxious. I have lost lots of weight. I am 42, in good shape and a vegetarian. I don't know what to do!!
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    Answer: AcipHex, like all drugs, can have many side effects. The side-effect profile of AcipHex however, is excellent. Proton pump inhibitors in general (Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix, Nexium and AcipHex) are very well tolerated. The most common side effects are headache and diarrhea, and these occur in two percent of patients. That being said, almost any drug can cause any side effect. Anxiety is a listed complication of AcipHex and all proton pump inhibitors. Typically, just because you have a complication with one proton pump inhibitor, you will not likely have one with another. If you do experience any unusual symptoms while taking any medication, you should contact your doctor immediately and ask for another medication.

    Question #2: I recently had an endoscopy, which showed no erosions. I have had awful acid reflux for some time. The problem is I don’t want to be on Prilosec forever. What can I do about this? Thanks.

    Answer: The treatment of acid reflux can be medical or non-medical. If esophagitis is found on endoscopy, a course of a proton pump inhibitor is typically recommended. Sometimes, symptoms of acid reflux can be controlled with lifestyle and dietary changes. These would include not eating late at night, sleeping with the head of the bed elevated and avoiding foods that make one prone to reflux such as caffeine, chocolates and peppermints. If those measures do not eliminate reflux, another course of proton pump inhibitor will typically be recommended. You should check with your doctor as to the frequency and duration of courses of treatment. Keep in mind, there are patients that will need lifetime maintenance therapy for acid reflux, as they do for conditions such as hypertension and diabetes. That being said, it is always a good idea to discuss your medications with your physician on a regular basis, as a point in time might come where you no longer need treatment.
Published On: January 29, 2007