Anemia Support Group

Anemia (or anaemia), which literally means "without blood," is a deficiency of red blood cells and/or hemoglobin. This results in a reduced ability of blood to transfer oxygen to the tissues, and this causes hypoxia; since all human cells depend on oxygen for survival, varying degrees of anemia can have a wide range of clinical consequences.

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Prilosec causing iron deficiency anemia?

I have iron deficiency anemia, and my doctor says that taking Prilosec every day, as I do, can cause problems with the absorbtion of iron or other nutrients. The gastroenterologist prescribed the Prilosec for my GERD symptoms, and he said that regardless of what it says on the package, you can take it forever without worrying about side effects or anything. Has anybody had a similar experience with Prilosec or medications like it? Has anyone found a suitable substitute that does NOT cause absorbtion problems?

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deleted_user
deleted_user

I am beginning to wonder about my Protonix which is similar.
deleted_user
deleted_user

I did a little searching around on the internet about this. The scientific evidence suggests that the biggest problem with PPIs like Prilosec and Protonix is calcium absorption; one study showed that patients on PPIs had 2.6 times the likliehood of breaking a hip. There's also a little evidence that it can cause a problem with B12 absorption. So far, the researchers feel that iron absorption is not a problem, but the anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise. I've read posts on a bunch of different forums about people who have iron deficiences which seem to go away when they stop taking their PPI. If my next blood test shows I'm still low on iron, I'm thinking about switching to Zantac or something. It's not as effective, but I'd rather have a LITTLE heartburn and no anemia.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Thanks so much for the info. i am going to call my dr. i have started getting the pica again
deleted_user
deleted_user

Hi there Ukelady,
I am new here and new to Anemia, but i too take Prilosec and Nexium on a regular basis. I found it very interestin that you suffer from Anemia and also take this GERD med. I also have other antibodis showing other autoimmune issues causing GERD. Do you also?
Hugs, Westcoast
deleted_user
deleted_user

Hi Westcoast,
I have had the ANA (antinuclear antibody) test and it came up normal. Is that the test you took? Actually, I didn't know that Gerd could be caused by an autoimmune problem.
Hugbacks,
Marian
deleted_user
deleted_user

I haven't had any antibody tests as far as I'm aware of. :P Just the iron ones. They think it could be from menstrual prob. And when i called my dr he said the protonix would not be causing the pica I get, which to me doesn't make sense cause my iron is up not down.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Hi Dansdoll,
I thought pica was caused by iron deficiency, but I just looked it up on MedlinePlus and it said "anemia", not necessarily iron deficiency. Learn something new every day. Yeah, they love to tell us it's the menstrual cycle, but I know post-menopausal women with iron deficiency problems too. My periods are so light, they're hardly worth mentioning. I lose more blood whittling :). It just seems so unlikely that that small amount of blood loss can have such a big effect.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Hi there Dansdoll and ukelady~
I know that you can get anemic from blood loss other than menstrual cycle, there can be bleeding in the stomach from broken capalaries, but that is pretty rare. At the moment, the Dr. is trying to figure out what the anemia is from. For now i will stop taking the Nexium to see if the anemia goes away.
deleted_user
deleted_user

I guess I don't know the difference between iron defiency and anemia. I thought if you were iron defiencent then you were anemic. Is there a difference. I am anemic or that's what dr said. Said the cells that hold iron are empty and the iron in blood is low.
deleted_user
deleted_user

I always thought that iron deficiency and anemia were the same thing, too, but my doctor corrected me. She says that although iron deficiency causes anemia, there are lots of other causes of anemia, too. Anemia just means your blood is not distributing oxygen through your body properly, either because there's not enough red blood cells to do the job, or the red blood cells can't make enough hemoglobin to do it. The most common cause is iron deficiency, but not the only cause. The body needs iron, vitamin B12, folic acid and a bunch of other things to make hemoglobin, and if there's not enough of one of these ingredients, you get anemia. Plain old loss of blood can cause it, too, as well as diseases which destroy the red blood cells. BTW, when you get deferred at the blood bank for "low iron", what they really mean is "low hemoglobin"; they're just assuming it's caused by low iron.
deleted_user
deleted_user

I know this post is old, but maybe you guys are still around... I've been diagnosed with SEVERE iron deficiency anemia, and there's really no reason for it. I eat a perfectly normal diet. I have a suspicion that it could be the Omeprazole (generic prilosec) that I've been on for the past 12 years. Did you guys ever try going off your PPI to see if it helped raise your iron count? I don't know how I would ever live without my PPI though... my heartburn is pretty gnarly. Do you know about any alternatives to PPI's that might help?
deleted_user
deleted_user

Hi Wizkat,

For me, it turns out that the prilosec was possibly the problem. I have stopped taking it, and I don't seem to have iron deficiency any more. HOWEVER, I do have problems with B12 deficiency, and I have to take supplements every day. It may be that because I have Parkinson's Disease, my GI tract is not efficient and so there are absorption issues, but who knows? Have you had the usual tests for GI tract bleeding (colonoscopy, upper GI endoscopy)? Since you have heartburn, it's possible that there's some bleeding going on, which of course could cause iron deficiency. I hope that if it is the Omeprazole, you can find a suitable substitute. I know that chronic heartburn is no fun at all!
deleted_user
deleted_user

I just found out the hard way about anemia and long term Prilosec use. I had to spend 3 days in the hospital to receive 4 units of blood. Lots of tests, no other problems, just extremely low iron. I now take iron and vitamin C (for acid) to boost iron absorbtion.
deleted_user
deleted_user

This website is incredibly difficult to make posts on. It is far too complicated for someone like me who just wants to post one thing and not join groups and yada yada... Anyway-
What I wanted to tell you is that Prilosec is taken to reduce gastric acids for reflux, etc. However, gastric acids are essential in the absorption of iron in the body. Obviously the lack of gastric acids will impair iron uptake, so you can deduce that Prilosec can create an iron deficiency in the body.
see: http://sickle.bwh.harvard.edu/iron_absorption.html
deleted_user
deleted_user

I have taken PPI's for five years, turned up with anemia (Iron-deficient) and DR blamed periods, which are heavy. I am also on low end of acceptable for B-12.

I tried Zantac and literally found that I could not exist on it. It seemed to add complications to my already complicated digestive system.

The only thing that has worked for me, i.e., turned out better blood test results and made me feel better, was the "meat at every meal" prescription.

I was nearly a vegetarian, and my descent into illness was long. Eventually I had no energy for anything, crying on the bed unable to move, literally, in the early afternoon one day.

So this having meat at every meal was repellant to me, but I did it, in combinations with vitamin C and beans and greens (which have a lot of non-heme iron that is better absorbed if eaten with meat, a heme-iron) and I started feeling better within 2 weeks.

My iron levels raised to normal after 3 months. Of course, after I started feeling better, I started relaxing the diet, and now I'm on the low end of iron and B-12 again.

The problem with supplements is that they are not easily absorbed and metabolized and my stomach just churns when I swallow them.

I do feel that the current data show that calcium and B-12 absorption is blocked by PPI's. Because those nutrients need acid to be broken apart and distributed to the blood, there is a problem.
I don't have the answers.

Good Luck.