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Do I Have Permanent Acid Reflux from taking Doxycycline?

is my heartburn from doxycycline permanent?

I previously wrote about why I stopped taking doxycycline as a malaria prophylactic. That was back in 2011. I had just finished a trip through West Africa at the end of 2010, and I had returned home to the states before setting off on the road again.

Originally, I thought I was having a problem with my heart. I had never really experienced acid reflux or heartburn before, so I didn’t know what was going on. I had chest pain, and I thought the worst. After substantial analysis at the Cleveland Clinic, I learned my heart was in great shape.

Reflux became the primary culprit after I explained to my doctor that the sensation was at its worst right after I would lay down for bed. An endoscopy and a acid monitor implant (worn for 48 hours at which point it dissolved on its own) proved the reflux theory to be correct.

My doctor suspected the doxycycline probably had something to do with it, because I had never experienced GERD before, and I did not have a family history loaded with reflux cases.

He prescribed me to 40mg of omeprazole (aka Prilosec) daily. This is more than a normal over-the-counter dose (20mg). I was eventually able to move down to 20mg, but I could not stop taking the omeprazole. My doctor told me repeatedly that I would just have to take the omeprazole for a short period of time, and then everything would be back to normal.

This still has not happened. After more than four years, I still have to take omeprazole regularly. I have experimented with diet changes, stress reduction and eating habits (eating more slowly, in smaller quantities and at the right times), but none have come close to fully eliminating the problem and allowing me to stop taking this drug.

If it wasn’t for this trick for fighting GERD, which I discussed the other day, I would be taking 20mg of Prilosec every single day regardless of my diet and lifestyle.

It would appear I am going to have GERD for the rest of my life. All I can do now is try to manage it. What is astonishing is that I can’t recall a single incidence of acid reflux or heartburn prior to taking doxycycline.

I remember in my 20’s when many of my friends would pop TUMS like candy, complaining of heartburn all the time. I had no idea what they were talking about. In fact, I often made fun of them for having a “made-up” condition. Perhaps this is my payback after all those insults.

Anyone else find themselves in the same boat as me? Anyone else take doxy and wind up with a permanent case of reflux? I’d like to hear from you. Let me know how long you took doxy, how the problems started and how long it’s been since you’ve stopped taking the drug.

Here’s to finding a permanent solution for acid reflux, regardless of whether it’s doxy that caused it or not. Believe me, I regret making fun of so many friends for taking TUMS and complaining of heartburn!

{ 5 comments… add one }

  • Lauren November 12, 2016, 3:19 am

    After a severe case of food poisoning in India and several rounds of different antibiotics, I have also developed severe and constant heartburn. Like you, I never had issues before this. It’s been about 6 months with no relief. I’ve been through every test the doctors can think of, and the gastroenterologist just settled on the diagnosis that the food poisoning incident (then treating it with a bunch of antibiotics) disrupted the natural processes of my body so much that it just overreacts to normal digestion now. He said maybe in a year to 18 months, I will start to feel better.

  • James January 20, 2017, 12:36 am

    Hey im from india.i got food poisoning episodes and doc gave me bunch of antibiotics regularly.one day it vecame severe and i was diagonised with gerd now.taking nexium everyday.this sucks.i have to carry this life.i think antibiotics damage tge valve of stomach

    • phil January 22, 2017, 5:01 am

      Hi James,
      Sorry to hear this!!! I would strongly recommend seeing a gastroenterologist. An endoscopy is a simple and painless procedure that will determine if there is any real damage.

  • Nancy Rachall March 9, 2017, 2:01 am

    I had pneumonia an was given Doxycycline Hyclate100 mg an now have chest pain an gerd an heartburn.

  • Patrica Maggipinto March 26, 2017, 3:06 pm

    I was on doxy and you name it for years ended up with bad chest pains yeast in esophagus and lesions in esophagus and stomach just went for tests and was put on acid reflux meds

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