Sunday, November 08, 2009 Dee Dee, Community Member, asks

Q: Is Omeprazole dangerous, and even addictive?

A doctor on a radio show said that Omeprazole is addictive and very difficult to stop taking because of this.  I think the doc was trying to explain it was addictive only because people who try to stop taking it have worse heart burn than when they started using it.  I also heard it can cause problems in women who are menopausal due to fractures.


I have been taking this drug for almost 10 years but because of this warning, I have been trying to discontinue use because of it.  However, I have also heard that it's not safe to have chronic heart burn either (which I do) because it can damage the esophogus.  Please tell me which is better.

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Answers (1)
Stephanie, Health Guide
11/ 9/09 9:04pm

You have very legitimate concerns that unfortunately there are no answers to yet. There is recent research that shows that in patients older than 50, 5+ years of proton pump inhibitor usage increases the risk of hip fracture. 7+ years increases the risk of other bone fractures as well.


New research is out as of this July (July addition of Gastroenterology) that shows that there may be a sort of dependency with PPIs and that after you stop taking them the reflux can be worse than if you hadn't taken them.


But, as you already noted, not taking them can lead to ulcers, Barrett's esophagus (pre-cancerous cells in the esophagus) or esophageal cancer.


Probably the best thing for all of us to do is to be informed consumers. Try not to overreact when the news comes out since the news thrives on making us all overreact. And, talk to our doctors about our concerns and the priorities for our own GI systems. It is possible that PPIs have been over prescribed but there are those who really needed them. My Mom almost died from a bleeding ulcer when I was 14. She is now in her mid 60s and has her bones monitored. I'd rather she be on PPIs this long than bled out years ago. On the other hand, I am trying to figure out the best plan of attack for both myself and my 10 year old daughter. I'm trying to read up on the research and keep abreast of the new information out there.


I'm really sorry I don't have more specific or more soothing information for you. I hope you are able to get more information from your doctor.



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By Dee Dee, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/24/10, First Published: 11/08/09