Zantac, generically known as ranitidine, has been on all our shelves as a medicine for heartburn, stomach pain, indigestion, and other gastrointestinal problems. It has been prescribed and sold over-the-counter (OTC) for stomach complaints ranging from acid reflux to ulcers.
However, on April 1, 2020, the FDA recalled all ranitidine products, including Zantac, from the market. Research showed that the drug had high levels of N- Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a cancer-causing chemical. Ranitidine has also been shown to break down to form NDMA.
Earlier studies have shown that NDMA can cause cancer and birth defects in mice. In a report, the World Health Organization (WHO) called NDMA a potent carcinogen in animals and a possible carcinogen in humans. Now, it has been linked to many types of cancer in humans, including:
- Liver cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Other digestive tract cancers
NDMA can also harm the fetus if a mother takes it during pregnancy.
In the past, the FDA had also recalled heart medications and a blood pressure drug that contained ranitidine, due to concerns over NDMA’s cancer-causing effects. The affected manufacturers were asked to recall their ranitidine if testing showed levels of NDMA above the acceptable daily intake of 96 nanograms per day. Previous testing found that there are more than 3,000,000 ng in one Zantac pill.
Despite these warning signs, Sanofi, Glenmark, Amneal, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, and other major pharmaceutical companies continued to sell Zantac while being aware of the drug’s health risks. They did nothing to warn consumers, and waited until after the FDA alerted the public.
Zantac has been available as an OTC medicine since the 1990s, but it wasn’t until an online pharmacy filed a citizen petition in September 2019, that the FDA began testing ranitidine samples and recommended that manufacturers expand testing of their ranitidine products. Consumers of Zantac and other ranitidine drugs have been unknowingly consuming a cancer-causing chemical for a very long time.
Safer drug alternatives for treating stomach issues do exist. Common ones that have been tested by the FDA, and shown to be free of impurities, include:
- Pepcid (famotidine)
- Tagamet (cimetidine)
- Nexium (esomeprazole)
- Prevacid (lansoprazole)
- Prilosec (omeprazole)
Steps You Can Take
The first thing you should consider doing is throwing away any Zantac pills you have in your medicine cabinet. Contact your doctor if you show any symptoms related to cancer, just to rule it out.
Stomach cancer, for example, has these symptoms in its early stages:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Abdominal pain or dull pain just above the belly button area
- Indigestion, heartburn, or vomiting
- Loss of, or decrease in, appetite
- Weakness or fatigue
- Blood in vomit or stool
- A feeling of fullness after small meals
If you find that you’ve developed any form of cancer, and you’ve been taking Zantac regularly, contact a lawyer to review your legal options with you, completely free of charge. Our drug injury lawyers know exactly how to fight for your rights against Big Pharma. Call us today at (800) 794-0444. We’re available to help you 24/7.