The heartburn drugs Zantac and ranitidine were recalled by the Food and Drug Administration after they were found to be contaminated with a chemical that may cause cancer. Patients who used Zantac or ranitidine may be at risk of developing cancer as a result of their exposure to contaminated medications.

Patients who have used Zantac or ranitidine and been diagnosed with cancer may be eligible to file a lawsuit and receive compensation. For a free legal consultation to find out if you qualify, contact the lawyers at Hissey, Mulderig & Friend by calling toll-free at 1-866-806-8117, or complete our free case evaluation form on the right side of this page.

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?

In April 2020, the FDA recalled all formulations of Zantac and ranitidine after uncovering evidence of widespread contamination with NDMA. Exposure to NDMA in Zantac or ranitidine could put patients who use these drugs at risk of developing cancer.

The following link contains a complete list of Zantac and ranitidine products recalled by the FDA.

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
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Jaundice
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

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.

Are other heartburn drugs contaminated with NDMA?

So far, the FDA has not uncovered any evidence linking Nexium (esomeprazole), Pepcid (famotidine), Prevacid (lansoprazole), Prilosec (omeprazole), Tagamet (cimetidine) to an increased risk of cancer due to contamination with NDMA.

However, in the wake of evidence that Valsartan, Zantac, and ranitidine were contaminated with NDMA, the FDA announced that it was instituting new drug safety guidelines regarding nitrosamines, a class of chemicals that includes NDMA. The new safety guidelines set limits on the amount of nitrosamines that can be allowed in medications and identifies conditions under which nitrosamines can form in order to help prevent the chemical contamination of other prescription drugs.

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. After you submit your information, a member of our staff will be in contact with you to get more information and schedule your free consultation with an attorney.