The cancer-causing ingredient in Zantac is NDMA. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recalled Zantac off store shelves across the United States late last year because ranitidine, which is a chemical used in the production of Zantac, is linked to high levels of NDMA. NDMA is a toxic oil that was once used in the production of rocket fuel and industrial lubricants but was found to cause cancer in mice and rats that were exposed to it for several weeks. In humans, NDMA is known to cause dizziness, jaundice, nausea, vomiting, and headaches.
As far as cancer is concerned, the link between NDMA and cancer in humans is still being studied. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services currently defines NDMA as a possible human carcinogen. This means it may cause cancer but it is not formally defined as a carcinogenic for humans.
If you used Zantac to treat acid reflux, heartburn, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or if you experienced any of the symptoms and telltale signs of NDMA poisoning mentioned above, you should speak with your physician. Your doctor will help you diagnose any illnesses you may have and can recommend alternative medications for controlling any digestion or acid-related health issues you may be suffering from.
NDMA in the Environment
NDMA occurs naturally in the environment and can be found in fruits and vegetables, as well as in public water supplies and various forms of meat and cheese. It can also enter different ecosystems from industrial processes. Wastewater treatment, tanneries, foundries, and the manufacture of dyes, pesticides, and lubricants can all release NDMA into the environment. Whiskey, beer, and cured meats may also contain it.
Depending on where you live, your diet, and the kind of work you do, you may be at a higher or lower risk of exposure to NDMA contamination and poisoning. If you suffered from any unexplained illnesses such as headaches, jaundice, nausea, abdominal pain, or blood in the stool or urine, you should immediately see your doctor for testing.
NDMA in Medications
In addition to naturally-occurring NDMA in the environment and NDMA from industry, NDMA can also be found in various medications.
For example, Zantac is a drug used to treat stomach ailments such as ulcers and acid reflux. Zantac is a histamine blocker. Histamine is a chemical produced by cells that suffer trauma or inflammation. According to Mayo Clinic, it can also trigger the production of gastric juices, which are the acids in the stomach.
By blocking the production of histamine, Zantac can help patients control acid production in the stomach. This can help ulcers heal and can prevent other illnesses such as GERD and ulcers or inflammation in the esophagus or food pipe.
Ranitidine is the active ingredient in Zantac, but it was recently discovered that the ranitidine used in the production of Zantac contained dangerous levels of NDMA. According to the FDA, an investigation into the source of this NDMA is currently underway and there is no conclusive answer as to how this issue arose. Zantac was previously used to treat acid reflux and heartburn for decades and was shown to be highly effective, but the recent issue regarding NDMA in ranitidine had it recalled by the FDA.
Why NDMA Was Found in Zantac
There are currently two possible explanations for the NDMA found in Zantac. The first pertains to lax quality control protocols and issues with packaging. Many manufacturers of Zantac operate overseas in countries such as India. It is possible that NDMA inadvertently contaminated the ranitidine used to produce Zantac at these facilities and that only specific lots were affected. It is also possible that various forms of packaging led to contamination of Zantac lots during shipping and transportation.
The second explanation is that ranitidine reacts with acids in the stomach to release NDMA. NDMA itself is a highly volatile compound and can easily break down and react with other chemicals. Some studies found that a single tablet of Zantac can lead to the release of over 300,000 nanograms of NDMA into the bloodstream. The maximum level deemed safe by the FDA for daily intake is 96 nanograms. With this cancer-causing ingredient in Zantac, daily ingestion of Zantac has the potential of causing NDMA poisoning, possibly leading to cancer in the long run.
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If you used Zantac and developed any of the symptoms or illnesses linked to NDMA poisoning, speak with your doctor. You should also contact us to evaluate your case. If it can be proven that the negligence of a product manufacturer led to your injuries, you may be entitled to a financial award. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 635-1144 to discuss what steps to take and how to determine fault for the damages and injuries you are facing.
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