Zantac, a drug commonly used for heartburn treatment, was recalled by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for contamination and a potential risk of cancer.
Zantac is known generically as ranitidine. The drug was tested by the FDA for the possible presence of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a known-carcinogenic chemical. The results of their tests revealed that Zantac contained dangerous levels of NDMA. As a result of the recall, the drug is no longer sold in Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and other major retailers.
The Effects of NDMA Exposure
According to an NDMA fact sheet from the United States National Library of Medicine, the chemical is considered a “probable human carcinogen.” Exposure to NDMA is associated with fatal liver disease, liver enlargement, and jaundice.
The symptoms of NDMA poisoning include:
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weakness and fatigue
Authorities are investigating the potential reactions of NDMA and ranitidine inside the body. It has been alleged that interactions with the drug can cause existing NDMA levels to rise, potentially contributing to the development of cancer.
What Caused the Contamination?
NDMA is a chemical that can be a by-product of manufacturing. It is believed that the Zantac contamination was the result of drug production processes.
Similar reports of NDMA contamination were released earlier in 2019, in relation to blood pressure pills. As stated in a report on the Zantac recall from Reuters, “NDMA had previously been found in some blood pressure medicines from a class of drugs known as angiotensin II receptor blockers. Those impurities are believed to have been introduced by recent changes in the manufacturing process.”
A statement from the FDA presents the contamination of raw materials as a potential cause of NDMA contamination in blood pressure medications. However, the FDA “Questions and Answers” page on the Zantac recall explains that the agency is still “working to determine the reason for the NDMA impurity in ranitidine.”
The Zantac brand is sold by Sanofi SA, a French pharmaceutical company. Generic ranitidine is produced by many other companies, including GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis.
What to Do if You Take Zantac
People who rely on Zantac for heartburn treatment should speak with their doctor about the potential benefits and risks of no longer using the drug. There are multiple alternatives to Zantac available that could be an effective solution.
If you or a loved one was affected by contamination in Zantac, the Richard Schwartz & Associates Injury Lawyer, P.A. legal team is available to discuss your case. We are prepared to represent people who have developed cancer as a result of Zantac use.