Zantac & Cancer: What to Know About Ranitidine
The Public Deserves to Know if Ranitidine Causes Cancer
Before sales of Zantac were stopped over its link to cancer, it was trusted for decades as one of the most popular treatments for heartburn. In 1983, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Zantac for the treatment of ulcers. Soon after, the drug was being used to treat heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). By 1988, Zantac was the best-selling drug in the world. The new pill represented billions of dollars in sales for Glaxo Holding Ltd., the owner of its patent.
By 1997, Glaxo’s patent for Zantac had expired and multiple generic forms of the drug—all containing ranitidine just like Zantac—flooded the market. Then, in 2004, Pfizer received approval to sell an over-the-counter version of Zantac in the United States. Ranitidine continued to have success through all its generic forms. People came to rely on ranitidine products for a simple reason: they work.
In 2019, independent research revealed something startling: Zantac and many other ranitidine products contain a substance that’s been closely linked to cancer.
Is Ranitidine Linked to Cancer?
Valisure, a pharmacy that independently checks the products it sells, alerted the FDA that it had detected elevated levels of N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in various drugs containing ranitidine.
NDMA is classified as a probable human carcinogen (a substance that could cause cancer) by the FDA.
Valisure alerted the FDA in September of 2019. The pharmacy’s research determined that a single tablet of Zantac had 304,500 nanograms of NDMA in it. According to the FDA, the acceptable level of NDMA in a tablet is 96 nanograms. This means that some ranitidine medications have more than 3,000 times the amount of NDMA than federal guideline allow. By October of 2019 many countries had already banned sales of ranitidine and the FDA confirmed Valisure’s findings shortly after.
In April of 2020, the FDA finally requested that all ranitidine products be pulled from store shelves. While it didn’t initiate a recall, the agency advised anyone taking ranitidine products to stop doing so immediately.
Popular products that contain ranitidine include the following:
- Zantac 150
- Zantac 150 Maximum Strength
- Zantac Maximum Strength Cool Mint
- Zantac 75
- Wal-Zan 150
- Wal-Zan 75
- Heartburn Relief
- Acid Reducer
- Zantac Syrup
- Acid Control
Zantac and other ranitidine products have become a staggering success and a staple in pharmacies around the world. Ranitidine’s popularity and lack of a patent has led to nearly every major pharmaceutical company making a version of the drug. As of April of 2020, over a dozen companies have recalled ranitidine products that have shown elevated NDMA impurities.
Companies that have recalled ranitidine products include the following:
- American Health Packaging
- Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC
- Apotex Corp.
- Appco Pharma
- Aurobindo Pharma USA, Inc.
- Denton Pharma/Northwind Pharmaceuticals
- Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories
- GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
- Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
- Golden State Medical Supply (GSMS, Inc.)
- Lannett Company, Inc.
- Novitium Pharma
- Perrigo Company plc
- Precision Dose Inc.
- Sandoz Inc.
Ranitidine Isn’t the First Drug Linked to Cancer Through NDMA
Ranitidine is not the first drug to be recalled over unsafe NDMA levels. In 2018, dangerous levels of the substance were discovered in blood pressure medications known as sartans. The FDA was so concerned about NDMA in these medications that it recalled blood pressure medications containing sartans. Since the FDA only requested the halt of sales of ranitidine in favor of an official recall, some have criticized the agency of not being proactive enough with the situation.
Does Ranitidine Cause Cancer?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, NDMA—the contaminant found in ranitidine—is a B2 carcinogen. This classification means that the substance is likely to cause cancer in humans. Exposure to NDMA has been linked to several types of cancers during studies. Studies exposing rats and mice to NDMA have resulted in the growth of tumors in the respiratory tract, liver, and blood vessels
Zantac is linked to cancers such as:
- Esophageal cancer
- Small intestine cancer
- Large intestine cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Liver cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
- Multiple myeloma
- And more
What Are the Symptoms of Cancer Caused by Zantac?
Since Zantac and other ranitidine products were on the shelves for decades, the number of people suffering from NDMA exposure might be impossible to count. If you’ve taken any form of ranitidine over the years, it’s important that you understand the signs and symptoms of the cancer it is linked to. Doing so can save your life by helping to detect the presence of cancer as soon as possible.
Zantac cancer symptoms include the following:
- Anemia caused by intestinal bleeding
- Changes in stool; including odd shapes, diarrhea, or constipation
- Pain, cramps, or discomfort in the abdomen
- Unexpected weight loss
- Blood in stool or urine
- An enlarged liver
- Inhibited organ function
- And more
Those with a history of cancer in their family might be at an increased risk of becoming sick from NDMA exposure. If you’ve taken Zantac or any ranitidine product, it’s important to consult with a physician as soon as possible.
Risk factors that can combine with NDMA include:
- A person’s medical history
- A history of cancer in a person’s family
- How long a person took Zantac or other ranitidine products
If a doctor believes that a person might have cancer from taking ranitidine, they might conduct several tests based on the symptoms a person is exhibiting.
Tests for Zantac cancer include the following:
- CT Scans
- Blood Tests
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
If a doctor wishes to investigate a mass that they think might be cancerous, they might suggest a biopsy. This process often requires surgery to extract suspect tissue for lab analysis.
Are Humans Exposed to NDMA Naturally?
As mentioned above, the FDA considers minimal NDMA contamination in products as acceptable. NDMA exposure can occur while chlorinating wastewater, curing meats, or brewing beer. However, it has no known practical uses and is an accidental and hazardous byproduct. Since NDMA is an accidental result of other processes, the FDA has researched minimal amounts that are acceptable for humans. However, this does not mean that NDMA is safe for humans to be exposed to, especially in the amount of it found in Zantac and other ranitidine products.
Importantly, NDMA does not persist in the environment. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), NDMA breaks down within minutes of being exposed to sunlight. This means that those who are exposed to significant amounts of NDMA should never accept it as a simple accident. When a person is exposed to NDMA, it’s almost always because of the negligence of a third party.
Companies have no excuse for the presence of NDMA in their products, especially when so many ranitidine alternatives don’t have the same problem.
Zantac’s Cancer Risk Might Increase with Time
The presence of NDMA in ranitidine isn’t alarming only because it is a likely carcinogen. NDMA impurities in ranitidine products have been shown to increase over time. After testing ranitidine products, the FDA revealed that it determined that not only did the products contain unacceptable NDMA levels, the presence of the substance increases while stored in normal conditions. In other words, medications like Zantac and ranitidine likely become more dangerous the longer they’re stored.
How Do I Get Help from a Zantac Lawsuit Attorney?
If you think that your cancer might be related to your use of Zantac or any other ranitidine product, Arnold & Itkin LLP is ready to help you. No one should suffer because they trusted that a popular medication would help them rather than hurt them. Companies have a responsibility to make sure their drugs are free from impurities. It’s time for the multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical companies behind Zantac and other ranitidine products to explain how such a dangerous impurity went undetected for decades.
Since we’ve faced these massive companies many times, we already know what’s going to happen: they’re going to deny that Zantac/ranitidine was the cause of your cancer. Our team has been investigating this situation since the first day the Zantac NDMA contamination reports were revealed. We can work to prove that you took a drug with ranitidine, that it caused your cancer, and that you deserve compensation for your suffering and losses.
Time and time again, our team has shown that we know what it takes to hold large pharmaceutical companies accountable. In fact, our drug injury lawyers recently secured a record-shattering $8 billion verdict from Johnson & Johnson on behalf of a single client. What separates us from other firms is our experience in the trial setting. We keep fighting when other lawyers would typically settle because we know it's what our clients need. We're never satisfied until we’re certain that we’ve obtained life-changing results for our clients. We never settle and we refuse to allow our clients to be mistreated. No matter what.
Zantac Lawsuit FAQ
How Long Have Ranitidine Products Had Unsafe NDMA Levels?
No one is certain how long Zantac and other ranitidine medications have had dangerous levels of NDMA in them. The FDA needs to study the situation further before it can provide and answer for how long people have been exposed to NDMA through ranitidine. This means that anyone who has used Zantac or other ranitidine products should speak with us as soon as possible.
Is Injectable Ranitidine Safe?
No. The FDA suggests that all types of ranitidine products should stop being used immediately.
Has Zantac Been Recalled?
While the FDA has suggested that stores stop selling all products containing ranitidine, it has not officially recalled the drug. However, many major retailers were convinced by early evidence enough to stop selling the drug before the FDA’s suggestion. Stores that halted the sale of Zantac and Zantac generics include CVS, Walgreens, Publix, Rite Aid, and Walmart.
How Much Does Hiring a Zantac Lawsuit Lawyer Cost?
To make our services attainable for all clients, Arnold & Itkin LLP operates on something called a contingency fee basis. This means that we never collect any fee unless we’re able to obtain results for clients. Our firm will cover every court fee, investigative cost, and any other expenses associated with a client’s claim. We’ll only collect an agreed-upon portion if we win a case. We work this way because it makes the process as stress-free as possible for our clients. Our team knows that people approach us during some of the most difficult times of their lives. Contingency fees enable clients escape the stresses of invoices and bills. It also means that clients won’t have to worry about how much time they’ve spent talking to us—we’re here exactly when they need us to be!
What Are Zantac Alternatives?
While the risks of ranitidine are still being investigated by the FDA and other international agencies, everyone should stop taking it. If you’ve relied on ranitidine to control a stomach acid problem, speak with your doctor to find out what other drugs are safe to use. Ranitidine is part of a family of drugs known as H2 blockers. So far, ranitidine is the only H2 blocker identified to have dangerous levels of NDMA. Your doctor might be able to prescribe an alternative. In the meantime, try taking antacids for heartburn relief while avoiding foods and beverages known to trigger it.
How Do I Get Help with My Zantac Lawsuit?
If you’ve taken Zantac or any other type of ranitidine medication, call Arnold & Itkin LLP as soon as possible. Our team is standing by to provide a completely free and confidential assessment of your case. We’ll listen to what happened to you and explain your options, so you know what steps to take next. Since we’ve obtained results against some of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, we’re ready to fight for the compensation that you deserve. If the other side isn’t being fair, we won’t hesitate to take your case to trial. We do this because our clients need to have their lives restored and they deserve need the results we’re capable of securing.
Demand answers with the Zantac lawsuit attorneys from Arnold & Itkin LLP. Learning if you have a case is free, and you’ll only pay us if we get results for you.