It is unlikely that you will die from ranitidine, found in antacid medications like Zantac, particularly if you only took the drug over a short timeframe. However, medications containing ranitidine may put you at a higher risk for developing certain cancers and other diseases, which is why these types of drugs are no longer available in the United States.
Ranitidine is a medication used to treat various gastrointestinal problems, for example, ulcers of the stomach and intestines, and acid reflux, among others. It belongs to a group of drugs called H2 blockers that decrease the amount of acid your stomach produces.
The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) requested a recall of all drugs containing ranitidine over-the-counter and prescription drugs. The FDA also advised consumers to consult their physician and, if possible, stop using the medication. Laboratory tests showed the presence of a cancer-causing chemical called NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine). The FDA determined that NDMA concentration in ranitidine can increase over time and with high temperatures, making the medication potentially unsafe.
Ranitidine Cancer Link
The reason for a blanket recall of drugs containing ranitidine was that NDMA potentially causes cancer in humans. While this does not necessarily mean that you can die from ranitidine, ingesting NDMA can come with health risks.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NDMA is harmful to the liver of animals and humans. Exposure to high levels of the chemical can cause headaches, fever, nausea, jaundice, and vomiting.
The long-term effects of repeated exposure to NDMA in humans have not been extensively studied, but the CDC states that there is evidence of lung and liver cancers in rodents that were breathing and ingesting NDMA.
The animals quickly developed lung cancer, liver cancer, and non-cancerous liver damage. The unborn babies of the rodents also died after the pregnant animals ingested NDMA. The CDC concluded that while there is no hard evidence for NDMA directly causing cancer in humans, it can be reasonably expected.
What Does This Mean for You?
If you have been taking Zantac or a similar medicine containing ranitidine, finding out the government banned the medicine due to cancer-causing chemicals can come as a shock. There is no reason to panic, but you may want to keep a close eye on your health. If you still have any unused medication, and your doctor has confirmed that it is safe for you to stop using ranitidine, do not use up the medication and instead dispose of it safely.
You can also discuss any alternative medicines with your medical provider. Your doctor might suggest a similar medicine without ranitidine, for example, Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs). Depending on your condition, you might be able to switch to over-the-counter antacids.
Now could also be a good time to make some changes to your lifestyle and the foods you eat, as this can help with some gastrointestinal conditions, especially acid reflux and heartburn. Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help, as well as avoiding so-called “trigger foods,” which can differ from person to person. Drinking alcohol and smoking can also aggravate acid reflux and heartburn.
Cancers that Might be Linked to NDMA
Exposure to NDMA possibly contributes to developing certain cancers such as cancers of the stomach, intestines, liver, and others. Therefore, if you have been taking ranitidine over the years, you should investigate any possible symptoms of cancer promptly. Having a yearly physical and making full use of all available preventative cancer check-ups can help with detecting any health problems early and increase the chances of beating cancer.
You Could Have Legal Recourse
If you have already developed cancer, and believe NDMA in ranitidine might be to blame, you may have legal recourse and could receive compensation. In a drug-related liability lawsuit, you could potentially receive compensation for your medical bills and treatments, medical devices, transportation costs, lost wages, and other damages.
The manufacturer of Zantac may have negligently kept information from consumers, knowing that this medication contains a potentially dangerous chemical. Knowing about the dangers of their drug and not taking precautions to keep consumers safe is unethical and may have put thousands of lives at risk. People living with cancer have already initiated lawsuits against the US manufacturer of Zantac.
Holding a large multinational company accountable for their actions may seem daunting, but we are here to help and can tackle tough cases. There is no financial risk for you as we work on contingency and only get paid when you get paid. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to find out if you have a case at (800) 794-0444.