Is Omeprazole Addictive?

Is Omeprazole Addictive?

Is Omeprazole Addictive?
Some basic information before I begin to answer the above question

Indications/Uses:

Omeprazole is used in the treatment of
  • Duodenal ulcers
  • Gastric ulcers
  • GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • Erosive esophagitis
  • Pathological hypersecretory conditions
**## Please note: All the above-mentioned conditions are the ones in which there is an increased secretion of gastric acid, leading to acidity or heartburn as the primary symptom.

Examples of PPI's (Proton Pump Inhibitors)

Omeprazole, Rabeprazole
  • Omeprazole
  • Rabeprazole
  • Pantoprazole
  • Lansoprazole
  • Dexlansoprazole
  • Esomeprazole
Please note that the above-mentioned names are generic names of the drugs or molecules and not brand names or trade names.

Purpose of prescribing PPI (Proton Pump Inhibitors)

  • All the above-mentioned diseases or pathological conditions are the ones in which there is an increased secretion of gastric acid.
  • This increased gastric acid leads to acidity or heartburn, which is also the primary symptom of the above-mentioned conditions.
  • Omeprazole and other PPIs (Proton Pump Inhibitors) are employed to reduce the amount of acid secreted in the stomach, to relieve acidity or heartburn.

Are PPI's addictive in nature?

  • Well, if you are looking for a specific answer in just one word, it’s a Yes. Omeprazole and other PPIs are addictive in nature. But don’t jump to any conclusion. There are many more IF’s and BUT’s to this ‘YES’. Let me explain to you.
    • The treatment of all the conditions mentioned above lasts long; like 4 to 8 weeks.
    • According to the science of “habit formation’, anything that we do for 21 days becomes a habit.
    • Also, when you do something and if the reward is positive, you are more likely to repeat that thing and relish the positive reward.
    • This repetition of events to reach that state of satiety or happiness leads to the formation of habit and later forms an addiction.
    • In the case of the above-mentioned pathological conditions, the reward is a relief from hyperacidity or heartburn.
    • Rather than using the term addictive, the term dependent or dependency is more suitable in this case. This is because a person is really and truly dependent on PPI’s (Proton Pump Inhibitors) like omeprazole, Rabeprazole, esomeprazole, and others to get relief from hyperacidity or heartburn.
    • The explanation mentioned above applies only to those who are suffering from pathological conditions like gastric ulcers, duodenal ulcers, GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, pathological hypersecretory conditions, and erosive esophagitis.

Can I take PPI's occasionally?

  • Those individuals, who are not suffering from any of the pathological conditions which increase the secretion of gastric acid, are less likely to get dependent on omeprazole and other PPIs.
  • This is because these people are not going to take PPIs for a long time.
  • Taking these PPIs occasionally or once in a while will not make them dependent on omeprazole.
  • This is because, for these individuals, the reward of relief from hyperacidity or heartburn though positive is not a necessity daily.
  • Finally to answer the question, taking PPI’s occasionally will not make them an addict or PPI-dependent.

Does PPI’s have a potential for drug abuse?

  • Anything which can cause an addiction or dependency has the potential for abusive usage.
  • But if you are relating the abusive usage of narcotic substances like opioids to the usage of PPIs; such abusive use is not possible.
  • This is because narcotic substances cross the blood-brain barrier and affect a person’s mind or thinking:
    • By creating hallucination
      • In this case, a person lives in his or her own imaginary world and is unwilling to come out of that world.
    • By creating euphoria
      • In this case, a person feels extremely happy. He or she also experiences an intense feeling of well-being.
    • By reducing the anxiety
  • All the above-mentioned effects that a person experiences with the use of narcotic substances are not possible with PPIs.
  • Hence, a person is extremely less likely (almost impossible) to abuse PPIs.

What if someone has abused and consumed an overdose of PPIs?

Rabeprazole Overdosage

  • No specific antidote is known.
  • Dialysis does not aid in excess drug removal as Rabeprazole is extensively protein bound.
  • Supportive treatment should be given as and when required.
  • Contact the emergency department of your local hospital in cases of overdose or suspected overdose.

Pantoprazole Overdose

  • No specific antidote is known.
  • Dialysis does not aid in excess drug removal as Pantoprazole is extensively protein bound.
  • Supportive treatment should be given as and when required.
  • Contact the emergency department of your local hospital in cases of overdose or suspected overdose.

Omeprazole Overdose

  • Confusion, drowsiness, blurred vision, tachycardia, nausea, vomiting, diaphoresis, flushing, headache, and dry mouth are some of the symptoms of overdose.
  • No specific antidote is known.
  • Dialysis does not aid in excess drug removal as Omeprazole is extensively protein bound.
  • Supportive treatment should be given as and when required.
  • Contact the emergency department of your local hospital in cases of overdose or suspected overdose.

Lansoprazole Overdose

  • No specific antidote is known.
  • Dialysis does not aid in excess drug removal as Lansoprazole is extensively protein bound.
  • Supportive treatment should be given as and when required.
  • Contact the emergency department of your local hospital in cases of overdose or suspected overdose.

Esomeprazole Overdose

  • Symptoms of overdose include reduced motor activity, tremor, ataxia, reduced respiratory frequency, and intermittent clonic convulsions.
  • Confusion, drowsiness, dry mouth, blurred vision, nausea, tachycardia, headache, flushing, and diaphoresis were also reported.
  • No specific antidote is known.
  • Dialysis does not aid in excess drug removal as Rabeprazole is extensively protein bound.
  • Supportive treatment should be given as and when required.
  • Contact the emergency department of your local hospital in cases of overdose or suspected overdose.

Dexlansoprazole Overdose

  • Severe hypertension has been reported for 60 mg twice a day dose of Dexlansoprazole.
    • Consult your doctor as soon as possible.
  • Symptoms of overdose include reduced motor activity, tremor, ataxia, reduced respiratory frequency, and intermittent clonic convulsions.
  • Confusion, oropharyngeal pain, and weight loss were also reported.
  • No specific antidote is known.
  • Dialysis does not aid in excess drug removal as Dexlansoprazole is extensively protein bound.
  • Supportive treatment should be given as and when required.
  • Contact the emergency department of your local hospital in cases of overdose or suspected overdose.

Withdrawal symptoms of PPI's

  • Common withdrawal symptoms
    • Heartburn
    • Indigestion or Dyspepsia
    • Acid regurgitation
  • Other withdrawal symptoms
    • Appetite loss
    • Anxiety
    • Bloating
    • Depression
    • Constipation
    • Diarrhea
    • Fatigue
    • Dizziness
    • Lightheadedness
    • Insomnia
    • Gas
    • Headache
    • Stomach ache
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting

How to take Omeprazole and other PPIs safely without experiencing any side effects or dependency?

  • To take Omeprazole and other medicines safely, follow the instructions of the prescribing doctor as well as the pharmacist.
  • Note down the details on when and how to take the medicines.
  • Also, note down the details if any on discontinuing the use of these medicines.

I am already addicted. What do I do?

  • If you are taking Omeprazole or other PPI’s for any of the above-mentioned pathological conditions, and if you wish to change your dose or medication, you need to consult your doctor.
  • You need to confirm with your doctor that you have recovered completely from the above-mentioned pathological conditions.
  • Your doctor may ask you to get some tests done, which will require your cooperation.
  • Once your doctor has confirmed that you can stop taking PPI’s, you need to follow the below-mentioned instructions:
    • Don’t eat spicy foods.
    • Eat small quantities but at regular intervals.
    • Stop eating fast foods for some time.
    • Absolutely no fasting at all.
    • Eat curd after your meals and breakfast.
    • Carbonated sodas also help in relieving heartburn, but consume only carbonated water (Plain soda).

In a Nutshell

  • If you are wondering whether you can get addicted to omeprazole or not, let me tell you there's no definite yes or no to that question.
  • Your doctor is the best person to evaluate your situation or condition and will be able to give you the best possible recommendation.
Disclaimer:
All the information provided above is 'FOR INFORMATION ONLY'. It is not a guideline or recommendation. Do not stop taking your medications without consulting your doctor.

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