The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) reports that laboratory tests have led to NDMA’s classification as a “probable human carcinogen,” meaning that it may cause cancer in people. A report from the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that NDMA is bad because individuals who are exposed to high levels of it may develop gastrointestinal illnesses, namely gastric or colorectal cancer.
Where NDMA Comes From
NDMA is found in the environment, as well as certain meats, vegetables, dairy products, other foods, and water. According to the FDA, NDMA does not increase the risk of cancer for individuals who consume food and water that contain it because levels of it tend to be low. However, NDMA is bad is higher quantities, even when it occurs naturally.
NDMA can also be found in ranitidine, a member of a class of drugs known as histamine-2 blockers. MedlinePlus reports that those medications reduce the amount of acid produced in the stomach. Zantac, the brand-name medication for ranitidine, is used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), ulcers, heartburn, and other problems. The drug has been prescribed and sold over the counter for decades around the world. USA Today reports that the presence of NDMA in Zantac was only recently discovered.
Although the levels of NDMA in ranitidine products may be low initially, the amount of NDMA can increase over time while the medication is in storage. FDA testing found that, even in normal storage conditions, the level of NDMA in ranitidine can increase. If ranitidine is exposed to high temperatures, for example when it is being transported for distribution and when customers handle it, the level of NDMA can rise significantly, which can put consumers’ health at risk.
The Potential Issues That Come From NDMA Use
NDMA is a type of nitrosamine impurity. According to the FDA, nitrosamines are chemical carcinogens that may be found in some foods and medications, including Zantac. The FDA has worked with other organizations to establish internationally recognized daily limits for nitrosamine intake that are considered acceptable.
Even in small quantities, NDMA may cause liver damage, as well as internal bleeding. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been no reports of NDMA linked to cancer in humans, but scientists believe that NDMA could cause cancer. The risk of developing cancer can increase if individuals are exposed to higher-than-acceptable levels of NDMA over a long period of time.
Consumer Protection Measures
The FDA asked manufacturers to withdraw both prescription and over-the-counter versions of drugs containing ranitidine from the market as of April 2020. The FDA urged consumers who were using over-the-counter ranitidine to stop taking it, dispose of any remaining doses, and use a different over-the-counter medication that does not contain NDMA. Patients who take prescription Zantac or other medications containing ranitidine should discuss alternatives to Zantac and their current treatment plan with a doctor.
Other medications, including other H2 blockers, can treat the painful symptoms of conditions like stomach ulcers and acid reflux. Like any medication, you may experience side effects, so it is best to switch medicines with the guidance of your doctor.
How a Personal Injury Attorney May Be Able to Help You Seek Justice
The attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have represented thousands of clients throughout the nation in cases involving personal injuries with a variety of causes, including dangerous prescription and over-the-counter medications. Even if you are concerned that a lawyer will not serve your area, our team may be able to travel to you.
If you took Zantac and you were injured by NDMA, we may be able to obtain a financial settlement to compensate you for injuries you endured. You may also receive awards for medical treatments you had to undergo, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other consequences of an unsafe medication.
If you have already paid large sums of money for medical treatments and are unable to work, you may think that you could not possibly afford to pay an attorney. You do not have to worry about that. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm works on a contingency basis, meaning that our personal injury clients do not have to pay us any money up front to represent them. We are only paid if we recover financial compensation on behalf of a client. Call our office today at (800) 794-0444 to speak with a member of our team.