Zantac Contamination Linked to Cancer
Popular heartburn drug, Zantac, may contain a carcinogenic compound that has been detected in other contaminated medications. Zantac’s manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis has announced that is undertaking a voluntary recall of the medication over cancer concerns.
Zantac may be linked to a number of different cancers including:
- Stomach or gastric cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Colon cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
The manufacturer and the FDA have acknowledged that the active ingredient, ranitidine, may be contaminated with an industrial chemical, NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine). NMDA is used in petroleum-based industry and manufacturing in products like gasoline, rocket fuel, solvents and lubricants.
NMDA has also been found as a contaminant in other medications including the blood pressure medication, valsartan. In addition to recalls issued by Sanofi, other generic manufacturers and store brands have also been pulled from shelves and are no longer being sold at retail outlets such as Walgreens, CVS-Target and Walmart.
Experts warn that though there are a number of alternative medications to Zantac, people should consult their health care practitioner before suddenly discontinuing the medication.
FDA Zantac Cancer Warning
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with European health authorities have warned that Zantac and generic medications containing ranitidine may be contaminated with N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a known or suspected carcinogen.
NDMA is an organic chemical that is a byproduct of pesticide manufacturing and used in other industries including petroleum-based product manufacturing to produce fuels, lubricants ant other chemicals. It is classified as a human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who has acknowledged it as an environmental contaminant and strictly regulates its use and presence. NDMA levels in ranitidine products including Zantac heartburn medication have been found to be between 3,000 and 26,000 times higher than levels which are normally allowed by the FDA or other agencies.
NDMA has also been found as a contaminant in other medications including prescription high blood pressure medications sold under the brand name Diovan or containing the angiotensin-receptor blocker (ARB) valsartan. Valsartan has also been linked to contamination with other, similar chemicals.
Zantac’s manufacturer Sanofi Aventis has issued a voluntary recall of Zantac over-the-counter medications. In addition, other drug makers including Novartis-AG Sandoz , Apotex and GlaxoSmithKline have issued voluntary recalls of ranitidine products or have stopped selling the medications in the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong and India. Certain chain pharmacies and retailers including Walgreens, CVS, Target and Walmart along with others have pulled certain store-brands from shelves.
The FDA has not issued warnings or statements indicating medications should be discontinued and health experts have advised that people should consult their health practitioners before making changes to their medications. Thus far, other over-the-counter or prescription antacid or ulcer medications have not been affected and remain available as alternatives.
Zantac Cancer Lawsuit
People who took Zantac as a prescription or over-the-counter medication regularly for at least two months and were diagnosed with cancer may be eligible to file a Zantac Cancer Lawsuit and should seek legal advice.
- Popular heartburn drug ranitidine recalled: What you need to know and do, Harvard Health Publishing (09/2019)
- CVS pulls Zantac and similar heartburn drugs because of cancer worries, CNN Health (09/2019)
- Statement alerting patients and health care professionals of NDMA found in samples of ranitidine, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (09/2019)