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Zantac – Is Heartburn Drug Linked to Cancer?


In recent years many drugs and medical devices have been recalled and withdrawn due to serious side-effects. Few complications are as life-threatening as cancer. Recent concerns that the heartburn drug Zantac causes cancer led many retailers to withdraw the product. 

In September, CVS Pharmacy announced it is pulling Zantac from its shelves due to a possible cancer risk from the product. CBS News reported it is also pulling its generic brand of the drug ranitidine. Walgreens, Walmart, and Rite Aid also removed the product. 

The retailers took action even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not issued a recall of Zantac. 

However, the FDA found of the pills it tested contained small amounts of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). 

The FDA said people should not panic. It said the levels of NDMA found in the heartburn pills hardly exceeded the levels contained in most foods. 

The discovery led the drugmaker Novartis to announce it will no longer distribute generic versions of Zantac. The division of Novartis that makes a generic version of Zantac pointed out it “has not received any reports of adverse events related to use of the product as part of this recall.” Patients should consult with their physician and/or pharmacy for alternative treatment options. 

Notwithstanding the lack of an official recall in the United States, other nations are taking the cancer link in Zanac and its generic version very seriously. 

Canada and France have announced Zantac recalls. The European Union is investigating the issue further. 

What Other Medications Have Been Linked to Cancer? 

The carcinogen NDMA also prompted a massive recall of blood pressure medications in July. 

Numerous recalls were announced after the FDA found “unacceptable levels” of nitrosamines in common drugs containing valsartan. 

Patients who have taken Valsartan, Losartan, and Irbesartan products, should talk to a dangerous drugs lawyer about a possible lawsuit. 

Studies also link proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), a drug used to suppress acid production in the stomach, to cancer. These drugs are commonly used but a study in 2017 suggested long-term use can increase the risks of stomach cancer by 250%. 

The research found people who have a Helicobacter pylori infection who took  a PPI stood a greater chance of developing a precursor to stomach cancer, called atrophic gastritis. 

People who took PPIs every day face a 4.55 times greater risk of cancer, the study found. 

What Should Patients Who Take Zantac or Ranitidine Do? 

Health regulators say people who are taking ranitidine should not  discontinue it immediately. The FDA states those who are taking the medication for heartburn should talk to their doctor about alternatives. People buying it over the counter should consider other options. 

Talk to a Virginia Dangerous Drugs Lawyer 

At the Smith Law Center, our attorneys can make a case against big Pharma on your behalf. Medications like acid reflux pills are meant to protect people. However, side-effects like cancer can be far more serious than the condition the pills are meant to address. Our attorneys can launch a products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of dangerous drugs. Big drug companies often fail to place box warning on their medications relating to risks such as cancer. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with cancer after taking a medication, please call us at (757) 244-7000.

 

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