Within the last few months, multiple ranitidine and Zantac manufacturers recalled their products due to concerns that they contain high levels of NDMA, a likely carcinogen.
Zantac is sold by the manufacturer Sanofi, as well as generically under the name ranitidine.
Sanofi, manufacturer of Zantac, said it would be recalling the over-the-counter medication in both the United States and Canada. It has been recalled from major chain pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart. This comes on the heels of the Food and Drug Administration alert to the public that the drug contains low levels of a cancerous contaminant, NMDA.
What Is NDMA?
NDMA is used in aviation, rocket fuel, and industrial lubricants. It is also a by-product of several industrial processes, including gasoline refining and the treatment of wastewater containing nitrogen.
NDMA has also been used for inducing carcinogenesis in laboratory rats for cancer research. NDMA may also be found in a number of food products, such as cured meats, and is an ingredient in tobacco fumes. Research shows that NDMA does not appear to accumulate in tissues.
Under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA), NDMA is classified as “extremely hazardous.” Due to this danger, there are strict reporting requirements for companies and individuals who produce, store, or use the substance in large amounts.
Zantac Class Action Lawsuits
Recently, two class-action lawsuits were filed against Zantac manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis LLC and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, who previously held rights to Zantac, with plaintiffs claiming that the companies knowingly put patient health at risk. Lawsuits filed against the manufacturer maintain that Zantac contains levels of NDMA that are 26,000 times higher than the levels allowed by the FDA. In the recent past, several blood pressure medications that were found to contain the cancer-causing contaminant NDMA were recalled from the market.
According to studies of the contaminant NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine), possible side effects of ingestion are:
- Bladder Cancer
- Colorectal Cancer
- Esophageal Cancer
- Intestinal Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Stomach Cancer
- Testicular Cancer
- Uterine Cancer
In addition to being linked to various cancers, NDMA is also a potent hepatotoxin. This means that short-term exposure to NDMA can cause liver damage, like scarring and liver fibrosis. Long-term exposure can increase the risk of liver, kidney, and lung tumors.
Symptoms of overexposure to NDMA may include headaches, fever, nausea, jaundice, vomiting, abdominal cramps, enlarged liver, reduced function of the liver, kidneys and lungs, and dizziness.
Other adverse effects that have been associated with Zantac include:
- Nervous system disorders
- Arrhythmia or tachycardia (irregular or rapid heartbeat)
- Vitamin B-12 deficiency
- Liver failure
- Increased risk of pneumonia
- Low platelet levels in the blood
- Skin rashes
- Hair loss
What Should You Do?
The FDA and other institutions across the country will continue to investigate ranitidine for more information regarding any impurities. As of now, the FDA has not called for people to stop using the medication. With that said, the drug is only supposed to be used for short-term relief.
If you have been taking ranitidine for a long time, we encourage you to speak with your doctor as soon as possible about whether you should continue taking the drug. Your doctor may recommend that you start taking utilizing different medications, like other drug classes or another H2 blocker.
Based on the studies conducted up to now, there is no proof that NDMA impurities impact other H2 blockers or other heartburn medications. Studies conducted by the FDA found that the following medicines do not contain NDMA:
- Pepcid (famotidine)
- Tagamet (cimetidine)
- Nexium (esomeprazole)
- Prevacid (lansoprazole)
- Prilosec (omeprazole)
While antacids may be effective for heartburn relief, there are other lifestyle changes that can help provide you with some relief. Avoiding certain foods and drinks can help ease heartburn episodes.
Have You Taken Zantac or Other Ranitidine Heartburn Drugs?
Our Florida Zantac Lawsuit Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are investigating claims related to the contamination of Zantac and generic heartburn drugs made from ranitidine. If you have suffered any adverse effects after taking Zantac, filing a claim against the manufacturers of Zantac and generic ranitidine could help you recover financial compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical bills
- Past lost wages
- Future lost wages
- Permanent or temporary disability
- Punitive damages
- Loss of enjoyment of life