Ranitidine was taken off the market due to possible contamination with the cancer-causing chemical NDMA (N-Nitrosodimethylamine).
Ranitidine is an ingredient in the well-known acid reflux and heartburn drug, Zantac. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) requested that drug manufacturers recall medicines containing ranitidine due to safety concerns.
Low levels of NDMA can be found in our environment and some foods. However, this type of exposure is typically minimal and not thought to cause adverse effects.
Tests by the FDA determined that NDMA levels in drugs increase over time, particularly when stored at higher temperatures. This increase in NDMA can expose consumers to potentially unsafe levels of the carcinogenic chemical. As a result of these findings, ranitidine was completely withdrawn for prescription and over-the-counter use in the United States.
Ranitidine and Cancer
Ranitidine is a type of H2 (histamine-2) blocker commonly prescribed to prevent and relieve heartburn, as well as other conditions. Although human studies are limited, according to Harvard Medical School, NDMA is a probable carcinogenic substance for humans and animals, particularly at high levels. FDA laboratory tests showed that temperature, as well as time, raise NDMA levels in some products above the acceptable daily limit of 96 nanograms.
Types of Cancer NDMA Exposure Can Cause
High doses of NDMA have the potential to cause a number of cancers, including stomach, liver, and kidney cancers. The chemical is also thought to play a part in esophageal, colon, and intestine cancers, among others.
NDMA can cause other health problems when ingested in high doses, for example, organ toxicity and damage to the respiratory, nervous, and reproduction systems. The chemical may also harm unborn life when consumed by pregnant women. Other symptoms of over-exposure to NDMA can include jaundice, vomiting, nausea and reduced function of the kidneys and lungs.
If you have been taking Zantac or similar products containing ranitidine for years, and are now experiencing adverse health conditions or cancer, you should speak to your doctor. You may also wish to consult with a ranitidine cancer lawsuit lawyer, as you could receive compensation.
Alternatives to Ranitidine
If you used to take Zantac or any other medication with similar ingredients, you might need to look for other medications after ranitidine was taken off the market. There are several other H2 blockers available that do not contain ranitidine. The FDA has not found NDMA in similar antacid medications like:
You can also speak to your physician about alternatives to these medicines, such as Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI). PPIs, similarly to H2 blockers, limit the amount of acid your stomach produces. PPIs, therefore, can also help with acid reflux, heartburn, and stomach ulcers, as well as other gastrointestinal conditions. While generally well-tolerated, PPIs can have side effects such as headaches, fever, and gastrointestinal discomfort, as well as others.
If you have been taking Zantac to help with acid reflux and heartburn, you may be able to switch to an over-the-counter antacid, if your physician agrees. Common antacids can help with the symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn. If you want to switch medications now that ranitidine was taken off the market, consulting your doctor about the various alternatives will be the best course of action.
Controlling Symptoms Without Medication
If the recall of ranitidine has left you wondering about the implications of taking these drugs, you may want to try and make some diet and lifestyle changes that can be helpful to control acid reflux and heartburn symptoms.
Avoiding large meals, especially late in the day, can help with acid reflux problems. Alcohol, caffeine, sodas, and fruit juices can all aggravate heartburn and acid reflux. You may wish to replace these beverages with water and herbal teas.
Fatty and spicy foods can also aggravate symptoms, and you may wish to reduce your consumption of these foods or avoid them completely. Your doctor may be able to advise you on any other lifestyle and diet changes that could help with your conditions.
You Could Have a Case
If you have suffered injuries or developed diseases such as cancer through the use of Zantac or other medicines containing ranitidine, you could have a case against the manufacturer or other parties and could receive compensation. Generally, if a manufacturer does not take adequate precautions when bringing a drug onto the market, they may be negligent, and you could have legal recourse. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to find out more at (800) 794-0444.