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!