My Story: Perfectly Healthy 23 Year Old College Student Poisoned by FDA Approved Heartburn "Medicine" UPDATED 5/20/11Submitted by RonPaulio on Thu, 11/11/2010 - 22:13
After months of dealing with sensations and side effects that I have never felt before, I feel it is finally time to go ahead and tell my fellow DPers about my horrible experience with FDA approved "medicine". If anybody will believe my exeperience, it's you guys.
First of all let me give you some back story. I am a 23 year old college student at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. I have been 100% healthy my entire life and was basically an ordinary college student. I would go out and drink maybe one night a week with friends, smoke pot every day, run atleast a mile everyday, and hit the gym 3 times a week. My diet was very healthy with maybe one or two cheat meals a week. I was almost completely carefree and loved every second of life. I couldn't have even told you what was normal blood pressure back then.
Back in early August, I was driving back from Jacksonville to Tallahassee after my sister's birthday like I had done dozens upon dozens of times before when I started to feel a tingling sensation in my legs. Withitn an hour I could not feel my legs no matter what I did and was having trouble driving. Sorta freaked, I went to my primary care doctor right when I got home. He examined me and said that my Sciatic nerve was swollen and this was causing numbness in my legs. He didn't seem worried one bit, gave me a presciption for 500mg Naproxen, and sent me on my way. After a couple of days on the Naproxen, my legs were completely back to normal but I began to have indigestion. Within days I had the worst case of Gastritis I had ever had in my life. It felt like my chest was on fire; nothing felt good to eat. I quickly returned to my doctor and he told me go ahead and pick up some over the counter Prilosec OTC.
This is when my problems started and where the great life I once had ended.
I proceeded to head to my local drug store and picked up a box of normal strength Prilosec OTC (one 20mg pill per day). By the second day my gastritis felt completely healed. I could eat anything I wanted and not be bothered. By day four I started to notice that the big veins in my inner thighs that lead up to my crotch started to feel sore all day. I didn't think much of it and just applied ice. On the fifth night of taking my daily Prilosec, things got horrifying. All throughout that night I felt like my entire body was going to explode. My heart was pounding at a rate I had never felt before in my entire life and all of the veins in my entire body (especially my neck) were protruding drastically. I was in so much pain and was so scared that I even wrote a note to my parents saying how I loved them very much.
After a sleepless night, I had my parents take me to the local urgent care center where they were taken aback at the sight of my vitals. My blood pressure was an astonishing 190/140 with a pulse of 145. They proceeded to due some blood test and found I was dangerously low on potassium. They gave me four large pills of potassium and what seemed like a gallon of Ativan (Lorazepam - anxiety medicine) intravenously. After this my blood pressure came down to 160/110 and my pulse came down to 110 and they seemed to be satisfied enough and sent me home.
This, unfortunately, was only the beginning of my problems. From the middle of August to the beginning October, I had a wide WIDE variety of scary side effects that that literally incapacitated me and made life almost unbearable.
My symptoms included:
- Constant High Blood Pressure (140/110 while resting up to 160/110 with even mild exertion like standing)
- High Pulse (averaged around 110 constantly)
- Heart Palpitations (constantly feeling my heart beating, would sometimes wake me up in the morning)
- Blurry Vision
- Eye Floaters
- Shortness of breath
- Pressure behind the eyes
- Confusion (would literally walk in a room and forget what I was in there for)
- Joint pain (all over, but especially in my knees)
- Chest Pain (Angina)
- Tingling of the face and extremities
- Bouts of sudden dizziness (not like pass-out dizziness, like getting off a carnival ride dizziness)
- Whole Food in my stool
- Constant Belching and Flatulence
- Blood in urine from reccurent kidney infections
- many other side effects I can't remember right now
These side effects were so bad and so constant that I literally prayed for death. Let me just say I had thoughts that I NEVER thought I would have before and I'll leave it at that.
I was in and out of the ER weekly and saw all sorts of specialists. The ran a wide gambit of test only to come back with nothing out of the ordinary. I ended up seeing many specialist that included:
The tests that were ran included:
- Blood Tests (CBC, CMP, Auto Immune, HIV, Vitamin Panel, cardiac enzyme, T3/T4, Hormone test, etc.)
- Numerous EKGs (found some minor Sinus Arrythmia)
- CT scans (Full body CT scan with contrast, Stomach CT with Contrast, and Head CT with contrast)
- MRI (Had an MRI of the head and neck)
- An Endoscopy (Upper Endoscopy)
The only thing that turned up anything out of the ordinary was the endoscopy. They found a severe case of gastritis in the upper part of my stomach for which he prescribed Prilose OTC! I told each one of these doctors that I know for a fact that these debilitating side effects were the direct result of ingesting Prilosec but every single one of them looked at me like I was crazy and told me it couldn't possibly be the Prilosec causing these symptoms. They gave me about 10 prescriptions worth of anxiety meds and Beta blockers for the blood pressure but by this point I was not having any of it. I could not trust FDA approved medication anymore.
These symptoms were persistant until I started taking St. John's Wort daily. I found online that SJW drastically reduces the amount of Omerprazole (Prilosec) in your system. Within days my mind has cleared up, my blood pressure and pulse somewhat normalized (130/85, 90-95bpm), and the crazy joint pain was non existant. Apparently my body couldn't process the Prilosec out of my system and I was slowly overdosing on the constant supply of proton pump inhibitor in my system. What replaced these symptoms was almost as bad.
I began to have terrible heartburn after nearly anything I ate. It could be a boiled chicken breast and an apple and it would feel like I ate fire 20 minutes after eating. My throat was burning constantly and I literally dreaded sleep. I would lay down and go to sleep and wake up with stomach acid in my throat at mouth. I ended up losing 10 to 15 pounds just from starving myself due to not wanting to feel the pain of heartburn.
I did some research on it and found that long term use of Proton Pump Inhibitors leads to a phenomenom called Acid Rebound. While on PPIs, your body is blocked from making stomach acid but the enzymes that create this acid build up in your blood. When you finally start producing acid again, it comes back ten fold and leads to worse heartburn than before and can last for months. Drug companies are 100% aware of this effect and are thrilled about it. It makes it nearly impossible to get off their poison.
The pain was so unbearable that I just had to try something else. I began to take Zantac 75 twice daily in hopes of quelling my horrible heartburn. My gastro "doctor" suggested I take it and I trusted him. Within days I began to have some more weird side effects. Whenever I would eat anything at all my eyes would get very bloodshot and itchy, my joints would get stiff and tingly, my nose would run, and my throat would feel like it was closing up. The only thing that would quell these symptoms was Benadryll. What I concluded was the the H2 Blocker (Zantac) I was taking was blocking the histamine in my stomach, which left it to circulate in my bloodstream and collect in my face and throat. It literally felt like I was having an allergic reaction after every meal.
At this point I had gone from 170 pounds prior to Prilosec to 145 pounds after Zantac and was completely disheartened and depressed. I would pray every night for God to take me in my sleep and have it not be painless. My quality of life was zero.
After doing much more online research I decided to say "F you" to FDA approved allopathic medicine and start homeopathic and natural medicine. For the past couple of weeks I have been on a laundry list of Homeo and natural medicine that includes:
- Manuka Honey
- Colloidal Silver (cured my kidney infections within days)
- Slippery Elm
- DGL Licorice
- Aloe Vera Juice
- Arnica Montana (Homeo)
- Histamanium Hydrochlroium (Homeo)
- Nat Phos (Homeo)
In the past couple of weeks I have noticed some improvement in most of my symptoms. Blood pressure was almost normalized, heartburn was nearly gone, and my mind was nearly free of worry. I began to feel very confident of my health compared to where I was. I still couldn't smoke pot or drink which really sucks but I was just happy being able to walk to class without my heart pounding out of my chest.
This brings me to this past weekend. This is my last semester in college and it has been all but ruined. Just going to class was draining on my body and especially my mind. This weekend I had a date with a beautiful 18 year old freshman and my best friend was coming into town so I decided to give this weekend a go and go out and party. Both Friday and Saturday I went to the bar and drank heavily. I drank both hard liquor and beer both nights and even got to have sex with that girl. Everything felt pretty much ok until Sunday. By Sunday afternoon I started to develop a very sore throat and some shortness of breath. By Tuesday I still had the sore throat and shortness of breath but I began to see droplets of blood in my phlegm. Not much and not constant but just enough to make me worried. And Wednesday (yesterday) I began to feel some sharp stomach pains that would come and go.
I went to the doctor again last night and I had an EKG and a chest X ray and he saw nothing out of the ordinary. No fluid in the lungs and a nice normal heartbeat. He thinks (and I agree) that I went out a little too hard this weekend and tore up my throat while aggravating my gastritis. He gave a prescription for extra strength Zantac which I immediately threw away after leaving his office.
So this leaves me where I am at today. Right now i certainly do not feel 100% but it is leaps and bounds better that what I have felt in the past couple of months. Right now my symptoms include:
- Shortness of Breath
- Sore Throat
- Minor Blood Phlegm (Very inconsistent drops of blood in an otherwise clear mucus, not pinky and foamy mucus that would suggest a lung infection)
- Stuffy nose
- Stomach pains
- Belching and Flatulence
Right now I am on my natural and homeopathic medicines and I will be damned if I will ever try any sort of heartburn or acid supressing meds ever again. I just took my blood pressure and pulse and it was pretty good. Right in good range at 127/80 with a pulse of 85 bpm. I'll die of a bleeding ulcer before I do those drugs again. I tallied up all the money I have spent on ER trips, doctors, and medicine and I have spent over $3500 FRNs on this lost cause. I will also probibly be dropped by my insurance so I got that going for me.
The point of writing all of this is just to give an example of how the FDA and drug companies can really ruin someone's life. I honestly feel like my life will never be the same or as good as it was only a few short months ago. Not only are the FDA and drug companies responsible, but the state educated doctors that push these poisons on thousands of people every year are equally as responsible. Most of them would refuse to hear me out on this poison and would just prescribe even harder drugs like Xanax and Beta Blockers to counteract the orginal side effects. I couldn't tell you how many times I have been told that its all in your head and its only anxiety. These months have been the most trying months of my entire life and have really led me to evaluate my life and whats important.
We worry about the dollar crisis and liberty all the time but I have realized that without your health, it all really means nothing. It took me a trip to death's door to really appreciate life.
If you are still reading after all of this I thank you and hope my writings can help someone else avoid this terrible hell that I went/am going through. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you all,