Is heartburn a side effect of Prozac? (+3 OTC aids)

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In this blog post, we are going to talk about prozac induced heartburn and increased acidity. Prozac is an antidepressant and is associated with a number of side effects, one of which include heartburn. We will also discuss some treatment options to help relieve this side effect. 

Does prozac cause heartburn? 

Yes, prozac does induce heartburn associated with increased stomach acidity. It is considered one of the most commonly reported side effects of prozac and it can be managed. 

However, some case studies revealed an extreme heartburn, which led to the discontinuation of treatment with this antidepressant. There’s one thing to bear in mind that the effects of every medicine are unique to every individual. 

Some people may suffer from mild acid reflux which can be managed easily, while others suffer from excruciating stomach pain and they can’t seem to eat properly, which leads to weakness and weight loss. 

However, this side effect seems to tone down a bit if you take your antidepressant with food. Studies suggest that taking your prozac on an empty stomach makes you more susceptible to acid reflux. 

What are the treatment options for getting rid of prozac induced heartburn? 

Prozac induced heartburn can be controlled with the use of over-the-counter acid reducers. These medications include:

Histamine-2 (H2) blockers

Histamine-2-blockers are also used to relieve heartburn. These OTC meds inhibit the production of gastric acid. They can prevent acid reflux and heartburn for up to several hours.

H2 blockers can interact with other medications, so make sure you ask your healthcare provider before using them. These include:

  • Cimetidine 
  • Famotidine (Pepcid AC)
  • Rimantadine
  • Zantac 360
  • Nizatidine

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)

Proton pump inhibitors or PPIs are also used to inhibit stomach acid secretion. These meds are used worldwide to treat heartburn and indigestion. They are also given in combination with antacids for better results. 

These include:

  • Lansoprazole (Prevacid)
  • Esomeprazole (Nexium)
  • Omeprazole (Risek)

Antacids 

Antacids are widely used to relieve heartburn. They are alkaline in nature and once inside your stomach, they neutralise gastric acid. Common OTC antacids include:

  • Magnesium hydroxide, also called milk of magnesia.
  • Aluminium hydroxide gel (Alternagel)
  • Calcium carbonate (Alka-Seltzer)
  • Gaviscon
  • Pepto-Bismol

All of these over-the-counter medicines can relieve the symptoms of heartburn. If you have more severe heartburn symptoms that won’t go away after 2-3 weeks of using prozac.

If they are not relieved even after the use of above-mentioned OTC medications, you need to consult your healthcare provider. It could also mean that it’s time to switch to another antidepressant. 

Helpful tips to help control your heartburn and acidity 

Following are a few tips which can help you manage your acid levels. These include:

Make a habit of walking at least a mile after dinner 

Studies suggest that going for a short walk after dinner can help your body to produce more digestive enzymes and makes your stomach absorb the nutrients from your food. 

It improves your digestion and reduces bloating, acid reflux, constipation and provides relaxation from several other gastrointestinal problems. 

Add milk and yoghurt in your diet

Milk and yoghurt are well known to provide relief from gastric acidity. Yoghurt also contains lactobacillus, which is a probiotic, also known as ‘good bacteria’. This good bacteria can improve your digestion and can manage excessive acid secretion in your stomach. 

Cut back on spicy foods 

It is a known fact that food can taste pretty bland without spice and your favourite seasonings, but spicy food can mess up your stomach and is the most common cause of heartburn in people who add high amounts of spices in their foods. Make sure you cut back on spicy food, at least for a while. 

Don’t eat dinner before going to bed 

Studies suggest that you should be done with dinner at least 3 hours before you go to bed. When you lie down on bed, the process of digestion gets slower. So you need to digest your food before you go to sleep. 

According to one study, eating a late-night meal can increase acid exposure when lying down by 5%, compared with eating earlier in the evening.

Eat in smaller, more frequent portions 

Do not fill your plate up. It puts a burden on your stomach to digest large amounts of food at one time. Instead, try to eat in smaller, more frequent meals. 

Try to maintain a healthy weight

Maintaining a moderate body weight can help reduce acid reflux in the long term. Some studies suggest that people who have excess belly fat are more likely to suffer from gastric acid reflux. 

Follow a low carb diet

Some researchers suspected that undigested carbs may cause bacterial overgrowth and increased pressure inside the abdomen, which could contribute to acid reflux. Having high amounts of undigested carbs in your stomach can cause flatulence and bloating. 

Don’t drink too much alcohol 

Alcohol can exacerbate your acid reflux and heartburn. It’s best to avoid drinking too much alcohol, as it affects you negatively in more ways than you can imagine.

Limit your caffeine intake

Caffeine is often found associated with acid reflux. Studies suggest that high caffeine intake can cause gastrointestinal problems like acid reflux, diarrhoea, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) etc. 

It can also exacerbate the symptoms in those who already have GERD or peptic ulcer.

Limit the intake of carbonated beverages 

Studies have observed that regular consumption of carbonated or fizzy beverages, including soft drinks, club soda, and seltzer, could be linked to a higher risk of acid reflux. 

One study found that carbonated soft drinks can worsen certain acid reflux symptoms, like heartburn, fullness, and burping. 

This is because carbonated beverages make your burp more, that can increase the amount of acid escaping your stomach and irritating your oesophagus, throat and mouth. 

Don’t go heavy on citric juices

All citrus fruits contain ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C, which could cause indigestion if you consume them in large amounts. Grapefruit juice and orange juice are considered the most common triggers for heartburn and acid reflux. 

Additional side effects of Prozac 

Common side effects of prozac include:

  • Restlessness 
  • Anxiety 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Dizziness 
  • Skin rash
  • Muscular pain
  • Joint pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Tiredness 
  • Sweating 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Loss of sexual desire 

Prozac is also associated with some serious side effects, which often require immediate medical attention. These include:

  • Allergic reaction associated with symptoms like redness of skin, itching, burning sensation, blisters, blue-purple patches, tightness of chest, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, hoarseness etc. 
  • Convulsions 
  • Dark grey-brown colored vomiting
  • Tarry or bloody stools
  • Eye problems including pain, swelling, redness, vision changes etc. 
  • Abnormal mood changes including, excitement following by sudden sadness, erratic behaviour, paranoia etc
  • Kidney function abnormalities, including severe pain, elevation of serum creatinine, difference in urine output and colour, blood urea nitrogen levels etc. 
  • Suicidal behavior 
  • Excessive muscle tremors 

Make sure you’re using prozac properly, to take the maximum benefits from the antidepressant. If you fail to understand how to use the drug properly or have any other question, ask your doctor or pharmacist. In case of overdose, immediately reach out to the hospital. 

Make sure you properly guide them about how much drug you have taken and when. If you have missed a dose and you’re way past the usual time at which you take your med, do not take it. It will cause you to overdose when you take your next dose, which is not too far away. 

It’s better to skip the missed dose and take the next one. If you remember your missed dose earlier, it’s safe for you to take it.

Conclusion 

In this blog post, we have discussed how prozac can induce heartburn associated with increased stomach acidity. It is considered one of the most commonly reported side effects of prozac and it can be managed. 

However, some case studies revealed an extreme heartburn, which led to the discontinuation of treatment with this antidepressant. However, this side effect seems to tone down a bit if you take your antidepressant with food. 

Studies suggest that taking your prozac on an empty stomach makes you more susceptible to acid reflux. We have also discussed some over-the-counter acid reducers which can help take your increased acidity down a notch. 

Make sure you inform your healthcare provider about all the side effects you’re going through. We have also discussed some non-pharmacological methods that can help you with your heartburn and acid reflux. 

FAQs: prozac heartburn 

Can Prozac increase acid reflux?

Yes, prozac can increase acid reflux. In fact, this is one of the most commonly reported side effects induced by prozac. However, some case studies revealed an extreme heartburn, which led to the discontinuation of treatment with this antidepressant. 

Can antidepressants cause heartburn?

Yes, antidepressants can cause heartburn associated with increased stomach acidity. However, this side effect seems to tone down a bit if you take your antidepressant with food. Studies suggest that taking your prozac on an empty stomach makes you more susceptible to acid reflux. 

Can you take antacids with fluoxetine?

Yes, you can take the following acid reducers with fluoxetine:

  • Antacids: They are alkaline in nature and once inside your stomach, they neutralise gastric acid. Examples include Aluminium hydroxide gel (Alternagel), calcium carbonate (Alka-Seltzer), gaviscon, pepto-Bismol etc. 
  • Histamine-2-blockers: These OTC meds inhibit the production of gastric acid. Examples include cimetidine, famotidine, rimantadine, zantac 360 and nizatidine etc. 
  • Proton pump inhibitors or PPIs: They are also used to inhibit stomach acid secretion. These meds are used worldwide to treat heartburn and indigestion. Examples include lansoprazole (Prevacid), esomeprazole (Nexium), and omeprazole (Risek)

Can antidepressants make acid reflux worse?

Yes, antidepressants are indeed capable of making your acid reflux worse. However, this side effect seems to tone down a bit if you take your antidepressant with food. Studies suggest that taking your prozac on an empty stomach makes you more susceptible to acid reflux. There are also plenty of other tips that can help you manage your acidity. 

What should I avoid while taking Prozac?

  • Monoaminoxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). The combination use can increase the risk of serotonin syndrome. 
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). The combination use can increase the risk of bleeding. 
  • Pimozide. The concomitant use can increase the plasma concentration(availability of a drug in the blood) of pimozide to much higher levels. It can result in life-threatening arrhythmia.
  • Controlled substances, including all narcotic analgesics. The concomitant use can cause severe psychological side effects. 
  • Mood stabilisers 
  • Alcohol 

References 

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