The Food and Drug Administration has warned that the popular heartburn medications Zantac and ranitidine are contaminated with a chemical that can increase the risk of cancer.
Patients who have used Zantac or ranitidine and been diagnosed with cancer may be eligible to file a lawsuit and receive compensation.
➢ What are Zantac & ranitidine?
Zantac and its generic equivalent ranitidine are part of a class of medications known as Histamine 2 antagonists (or H2 blockers). Like other H2 medications, Zantac and ranitidine are designed to treat patients with problems caused by too much stomach acid, including heartburn, acid reflux, peptic ulcers, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Zantac was originally sold as a prescription medication that was one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the world. Today, the medication is available in an over-the-counter formulation under the brand name Zantac, as well as generic formulations sold as ranitidine.
➢ Why were Zantac & ranitidine recalled?
Tests on the blood pressure medication Valsartan in 2018 found that the drug was contaminated with a chemical known as NDMA, which can cause cancer. After Valsartan was recalled by the FDA, scientists began testing other medications to determine if they were also contaminated with NDMA.
In 2019, the online pharmacy Valisure alerted the FDA that Zantac and ranitidine were also contaminated with “extremely high levels” NDMA. Valisure’s tests had found NDMA contamination “across multiple manufacturers” in every lot of Zantac and ranitidine that had been examined by the pharmacy.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the manufacturer of Zantac, and several manufacturers of generic ranitidine – including Apotex and Sandoz (Novartis) – issued a global recall of the heartburn medications in response to these findings. Several pharmacy chains in the U.S. – including CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Walmart – have also pulled Zantac and ranitidine from stores over concerns about the cancer risks of these medications.
➢ What formulations of Zantac & ranitidine were recalled?
After the FDA warned about the cancer risk of Zantac and ranitidine, GSK announced that it was recalling four prescription formulations of Zantac: a syrup, an injectable version of the medication, and 150mg and 300mg tablets. The company also recalled generic versions of ranitidine that are sold outside the U.S.
Novartis’s Sandoz division – which manufacturers a generic version of ranitidine – announced that it would recall the 150mg and 300mg tablets of the heartburn drug. Apotex also recalled its 150mg and 300mg ranitidine tablets.
Health experts say that other manufacturers may also issue a generic ranitidine recall due to the drugs’ contamination with NDMA.
➢ What is NDMA, the chemical found in Zantac & ranitidine?
N-Nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA, is a chemical that forms through the degradation of the chemical dimethylhydrazine, a chemical is found in rocket fuel, some pesticides, and other industrial processes. NDMA can also be formed through the chlorination, softening, or demineralization of water.
Laboratory tests performed with NDMA have shown that the chemical can cause cancer in animals. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that NDMA is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
➢ What types of cancer are caused by NDMA?
When NDMA is ingested through food, water, or medications, it can modify the DNA, placing consumers and patients at an increased cancer risk.
According to the WHO, NDMA has been linked to an increased risk of gastric cancer, stomach cancer, and colorectal cancer. Tests on laboratory animals have also shown that NDMA can cause liver cancer and lung cancer.
➢ How can I tell if I have been exposed to NDMA?
Patients who have been exposed to NDMA may develop some or all of the following symptoms:
- Abdominal cramps or pain
In extreme cases, NDMA exposure can lead to reduced kidney function or breathing problems. Talk to your doctor if you have taken Zantac or ranitidine and experienced any symptoms of exposure to NDMA.
➢ Do I qualify to file a Zantac or ranitidine lawsuit?
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with cancer after using Zantac or generic ranitidine, you may qualify to file a lawsuit. Hissey, Mulderig & Friend is actively seeking to talk with Zantac or ranitidine users who have received a cancer diagnosis in order to help them determine whether they may be eligible to take legal action.
To find out more about filing a Zantac or ranitidine lawsuit and to learn whether you may qualify, contact the lawyers at Hissey, Mulderig & Friend to receive you free legal consultation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-866-806-8117, or by filling out the free case evaluation form located on the right side of this page.