Potential Cancer Link to Heartburn Drug Zantac Sparks Lawsuits
More than 60 million Americans suffer from heartburn at least once a month. Many of us have taken Zantac or a similar antacid to alleviate the pain and discomfort. Now a potential cancer link to Zantac has sparked lawsuits.
The recent recall of popular antacids including Zantac and its genetic version ranitidine in addition to the connection to a carcinogenic ingredient has become deeply worrying to many users.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that these medicines contain unacceptably high levels of N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a substance classified as a “probable human carcinogen” by the World Health Organization. The FDA first revealed the presence of NDMA in these popular over-the-counter medications last year. The recall of Zantac has already led to class-action lawsuits.
What is Zantac?
Zantac is a popular over-the-counter or prescription medication. In prescription strength, it treats gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), stomach ulcers, and erosive esophagitis by controlling the acid production in a user’s stomach. The generic form of Zantac is known as ranitidine.
This medication begins to alleviate symptoms in half-an-hour and its effects can last up to 12 hours. People can take the drug orally in pill and liquid form or intravenously via injection. Zantac became the world’s best-selling drug after hitting the market in the 1980s. Sanofi currently markets brand-name Zantac in the United States.
What is NDMA and Why is It So Dangerous in Zantac?
NDMA is a known environmental contaminant. It is found in foods, including meats, dairy products, and vegetables, as well as water. According to Harvard Medical School, NDMA may cause cancer only after exposure to high doses over a considerable period. NDMA also was recently found in certain heart medications resulting in recalls in 2019.
A study by Valisure Online Pharmacy simulated the conditions that ranitidine is exposed to in the stomach. The idea was to discover how ranitidine would react. The researchers mixed ranitidine with sodium nitrites and gastric fluid that stimulate digestion. Valisure found high amounts of NDMA are produced when ranitidine interacts with gastric fluid and sodium nitrites found in the stomach. Under the simulated conditions, up to 304,500 nanograms of ranitidine were produced per tablet. This finding is alarming because the FDA- approved acceptable limit it just 96 ng. per day.
Although NDMA occurs in many substances at low levels, the research suggests it is showing up at potentially-dangerous levels in Zantac and other heartburn drugs.
Which Pharmacies and Companies Recalled Zantac?
In January, the popular drugstore chains CVS and Walgreens suspended sales of Zantac and its generic versions. Other sellers recalled the drug in recent months. Denton Pharma and Appco Pharma also issued voluntary recalls in January.
Denton, which trades as Northwind Pharmaceuticals, recalled all of its 150-milligram and 300-milligram Ranitidine Tablets. The company said it was yet to receive any reports of illnesses, injuries, or deaths linked to their pills. However, Denton advised consumers to immediately discontinue use and discard the medicine.
Appco issued a voluntary recall of its 150-milligram and 300-milligram Ranitidine Hydrochloride Capsules. It said no ill effects had been confirmed but advised patients to stop taking the heartburn medications and talk to their doctor about alternatives.
Mylan issued a voluntary recall of 150-milligram and 300-milligram versions of heartburn and ulcer treatment Nizatidine Capsules. The company found trace amounts of NDMA in pills manufactured by Solara Active Pharma Sciences Limited.
Emery CEO Ron Najafi said his California-based lab found traces of NDMA in ranitidine. He called for the drug to be re-labeled and said the more the drug was exposed to heat the more NDMA is generated.
Contact an Attorney for Help Filing a Zantac Injury Claim
Given the widespread use of Zantac and similar antacids over more than three decades, the potential for personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits is enormous. Two class-action lawsuits have already been filed against Zantac manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis LLC and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals.
We expect thousands of people to come forward. Although research is ongoing into the effects of NDMA on human health, early indications are alarming. Please contact our Virginia dangerous drugs lawyers for a free consultation. Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers can help you join a class-action lawsuit and seek compensation.