NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine) is a carcinogenic chemical that can be found in low-level concentration in our environment, including in our water, soil, and in certain foods. We are all exposed to NDMA in our daily lives, however, exposure typically occurs at very low and safe levels.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has conducted laboratory testing that found NDMA concentration in Ranitidine, found in drugs such as Zantac, increases over time and during storage. This can potentially result in high and unsafe levels of NDMA in these medicines. The FDA further advised that all consumers should speak to their primary health providers about other treatment options and, if possible, stop taking Ranitidine products immediately.
NDMA is still undergoing research, but according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is a probable human carcinogen based on its role in causing tumors in rodents and mammals.
Cancer Caused by NDMA
NDMA plays a role in a number of diseases and potentially causes several cancers. The kinds of cancers that may be caused by NDMA are, among others:
- Kidney cancer
- Colon cancer
- Liver cancer
- Intestinal cancers
- Stomach cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
In addition to cancers, overexposure to NDMA can cause various health problems, such as headaches, nausea, fever, and abdominal cramps, among others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NDMA is particularly harmful to the livers of humans and animals. NDMA may also be harmful to unborn life if ingested during pregnancy, as animal testing suggests.
Possible NDMA Cancer Symptoms
If you have taken any medications containing Ranitidine over a number of years, you may have ingested unsafe levels of NDMA. While you may not suffer from any adverse health effects due to Ranitidine and other heartburn medications, you may wish to look out for any common cancer symptoms. Getting early cancer treatment can help to cure the disease. Some of the symptoms of cancers caused by NDMA can include:
- Unexplained and rapid weight loss
- Bloody stools
- Tarry stools
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Blood in urine
It is important to note that many early cancers do not show any symptoms. Attending regular cancer screenings and check-ups can be beneficial, particularly if you know about your exposure to NDMA. Consulting with your primary care physician, if you have any concerns, can also be helpful.
Speak to Your Doctor
If you have any concerns that the medication you are currently taking contains NDMA, or worry about having taken medication containing NDMA previously, consulting with your doctor can put your mind at ease. You might also wish to find out about any alternative medicines you could use if you have been taking any of the recalled medicines regularly, and are now unsure how to replace them.
Depending on your condition, your doctor might suggest so-called Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs), that do not contain Ranitidine and have been found to be free of NDMA. They work similarly to Zantac in that they inhibit the production of acid in your stomach. According to Harvard Medical School, PPIs are the strongest stomach acid inhibitors available. However, like most drugs, PPIs can come with side effects. Some of the side effects from PPIs can be a higher risk of fractures, risk of pneumonia, possible iron deficiency, and others.
If you are suffering from the occasional heartburn or acid reflux episode, you may not need to use powerful stomach acid inhibitors. You could clarify this with your doctor. You could potentially control any symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn with an occasional over-the-counter antacid such as Tums or Maalox. Antacids are potentially safer and have fewer side effects when compared to Ranitidine and PPIs. Always ask your doctor before switching drugs.
The Manufacturer May Be Liable
NDMA is a known toxic and carcinogenic substance. Manufacturers only started to recall the drug after the FDA announced that Ranitidine products contain NDMA.
If you have taken medications containing Ranitidine or other ingredients that contained NDMA, and you suffered from any cancers or other medical conditions related to NDMA ingestion, you may be entitled to compensation. You could potentially file a personal injury lawsuit and hold a manufacturer and other responsible parties to account. Speaking to a product liability lawyer can help you weigh your legal options.
Drug manufacturers have to ensure that the drugs they bring to the market are safe for consumers. They are also required to warn users of any possible side effects, and not doing so can be negligence.
If a manufacturer knew that their product contained a cancer-causing chemical and did nothing, you could have a product liability personal injury case. Filing suit can help you receive compensation for your medical bills, as well as for any pain and suffering you endured, and other damages.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free consultation. Speak to our team regarding your potential claim: (800) 794-0444.