Those who take Zantac, generic acid production reducers, or store-brand products to help with chronic acid indigestion that contain ranitidine may want to switch medications. Otherwise, they may be at a high risk of developing cancer. In early 2020, Zantac, and several manufacturers of similar pills with ranitidine as a main ingredient, voluntarily removed their products from store shelves. The reason for this mass recall of the ranitidine-based drugs were based on Food and Drug Administration (FDA) findings of higher-than-acceptable levels of a known carcinogen in the products.
The carcinogen found in Zantac and other pills is the compound known as N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). Studies indicate that when consumed, NDMA can negatively impact liver function. Researchers rely on NDMA to induce tumors in small test rodents, and they infer that if NDMA can give those animals cancer, it can do the same to humans.
The FDA notes that the acceptable amount of NDMA in ranitidine is 0.32 parts per million. However, FDA investigations found slightly elevated levels of NDMA in the ranitidine pills they checked. Although the FDA has not forced the recall, it supports ranitidine medicine makers and distributors in their efforts to curb usage until after further testing.
Not the First Time Seeing NDMA
Interestingly, NDMA has made media waves in the past, but not for its part in drug manufacturing. NDMA is the carcinogen produced when grilling meats, such as steaks and pork products. Although NDMA has naturally occurring roots, it may be toxic and is listed as both a health and environmental hazard by the U.S. National Library for Medicine. Consequently, warnings about NDMA carry significant weight.
What Should Patients Taking Ranitidine Medications Do?
At this point, the FDA suggests that any patients taking antacid products featuring ranitidine consider swapping brands. Other products on the market that have similar effects on stopping or slowing down heartburn and stomach acid production contain cimetidine or famotidine. Neither of those compounds have been associated with NDMA or other known carcinogens. Patients under direct physician supervision should speak with a doctor before making any changes in their dosage or type of medication.
Cases of Cancer in Humans After Taking Ranitidine Drugs
The first inkling that NDMA could be linked to the manufacturing of some pharmaceuticals occurred in mid-2019. At that time, the FDA sent out warnings and updates to educate the public, health care providers, and retailers about impurities and ranitidine found in specific blood pressure medications. By fall 2019, the FDA expanded its public alerts to include cautionary messaging about ranitidine drugs.
To date, no known cases of cancer development stemming from the use of ranitidine products were confirmed. However, NDMA could affect the liver or stomach, meaning patients who took ranitidine and later developed gastric cancer or liver cancer may want to consult with a products liability lawyer to discuss filing a potential lawsuit.
Philadelphia Products Liability Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Fight for Those Harmed by Dangerous Drugs
If you took an antacid product that contained ranitidine and were later diagnosed with liver or stomach cancer, contact a Philadelphia products liability lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC right away. We will fight for the justice you deserve for your illness. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 215-569-8488 or contact us online. Located in Philadelphia, Media, and Abington, Pennsylvania; Wilmington, Delaware; and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.