Antacids are safe for most people. Some of the brand names of the safest antacids include Gaviscon, Gelusil, Tums, Maalox, and others.
Zantac, a common heartburn drug used by millions of Americans, was recalled in 2019 over concerns that it contains a cancer-causing chemical called N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).
If you have been using Zantac or any other medication containing ranitidine, any of the above options are a safer antacid option to use instead of a potentially carcinogenic medication. Generally, antacids that do not contain ranitidine are free from the cancer-causing chemical NDMA.
However, it is important to note that almost all medication has side effects, and no drug is completely safe for everyone. Side effects from true antacids are usually mild and can include constipation, headaches, nausea, and diarrhea, among others. Antacids also have the potential to interact with other drugs and can produce unwanted or toxic effects. It is always a good idea to consult with your physician before changing your drug regimen.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is recalling more products with ranitidine. If you are still using the drug, you may wish to discuss safer alternatives with your primary care doctor as there could be risks involved with the prolonged use of drugs containing ranitidine.
The Difference Between True Antacids and Zantac
Antacids neutralize stomach acids and provide fast relief for acid reflux and heartburn sufferers. However, the relief is fairly short-lived. Zantac and similar drugs work slightly differently and are not true antacids.
They are called histamine-2 blockers (or H2 blockers) and work to reduce the amount of acid your stomach produces rather than neutralizing the stomach acid already present. H2 blockers generally do not act as quickly as antacids, but they do provide longer-lasting relief. Zantac is a type of over-the-counter H2 blocker. Other examples of H2 blockers include Pepcid, Tagamet, and Axid.
NDMA and Ranitidine Cancer Link
If you have been taking Zantac or any other drugs containing ranitidine, you might worry about the cancer-causing chemical NDMA in these drugs. Drugs containing carcinogenic chemicals have the potential to cause cancers and other illnesses and injuries to those who take them.
According to Harvard Medical School, NDMA is an environmental contaminant that can be found in water and a variety of foods, for example, vegetables, dairy products, and meat.
Studies regarding the effects of exposure to NDMA are still ongoing, and studies in humans are limited. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), studies on animals linked NDMA to liver cancer and lung cancer, along with non-cancerous diseases like liver disease.
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Switching to a Safer Antacid
If you have been taking heartburn medication containing ranitidine in the past or are currently taking Zantac, and are experiencing cancer symptoms, you will want to speak to your primary care provider as soon as possible.
The FDA says consumers should stop the use of ranitidine, but the medication is generally recommended for short-term use only. You may want to discuss with your doctor whether switching to a safer antacid may be a better option for you.
Even the safest antacid can still produce some unwanted side effects. There can be ways of dealing with acid reflux and heartburn without medication. You might be able to manage, or at least reduce, the symptoms of these diseases by some simple lifestyle changes.
It can be helpful, for example, to eat slowly and enjoy several smaller meals throughout the day instead of three big meals. You may want to avoid certain foods such as onions, peppermint, chocolate, and spicy or fatty foods, among others, as they can all trigger heartburn and acid reflux. Avoiding alcohol and smoking can also help with heartburn symptoms.
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Liability for Defective Drugs
If you have cancer and suspect that medications containing ranitidine caused your cancer, you could qualify for a Zantac and ranitidine cancer lawsuit.
You may be able to seek compensation for any costs related to the cancer you suffered as a result of taking Zantac or other medications containing ranitidine and the carcinogenic NDMA. You can potentially hold a negligent manufacturer to account with a drug-related defective product claim.
There can be many defendants in a drug-related defective product claim, for example, the drug manufacturer, a laboratory that tested and approved the drug, and the hospital and doctors that prescribed the drug. These types of personal injury claims can be complex and lengthy. Having a personal injury lawyer by your side who understands drug-related defective product claims might be helpful. A lawyer can also represent you in court.
We know how to tackle tough cases and hold negligent drug manufacturers to account. If you believe that you, or a loved one, suffered harm from taking Zantac or similar antacid drugs, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for a free consultation, and find out if you could receive compensation for your injuries and losses at (800) 635-1144.