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Zantac Recall and Cancer Risk

March 2, 2020 Drug Injury

Zantac Recall and Cancer Risk

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Zantac recall in September 2019, and cancer is one key reason. Zantac, made by Sanofi Pharmaceutical, is known as an H2 blocker. It treats ulcers and heartburn because it blocks the body’s signal to the stomach to produce acid. Low levels of nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), an organic chemical that forms in both industrial and natural processes that could cause cancer, were found in the drug.

Work with Our Experienced Zantac Lawyers If You Were Harmed by Taking Zantac

If you’re concerned about the Zantac recall and your cancer risk, contact us. Our experienced attorneys at the accident and injury law office of Terry Bryant will give you a free evaluation to determine whether you have a case.

How Does NDMA Get into the Body?

You can ingest NDMA directly or indirectly in many ways, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including:

  • Eating smoked or cured meats and fish
  • Eating food containing alkylamines (a chemical compound derived from fatty acid), which can cause NDMA to form in the stomach
  • Drinking contaminated water
  • Drinking malt beverages, such as beer and whiskey
  • Using shampoos, cleaning, and cosmetic products containing NDMA
  • Inhaling cigarette smoke
  • Being exposed at workplaces such as tanneries, pesticide manufacturing plants, and rubber and tire plants.

The EPA states that there is no safe, permissible NDMA exposure or occupational limit. NDMA is regulated as a “potential occupational carcinogen.” Any exposure should be reduced to the lowest possible levels.

Is There a Recall on Zantac?

Our clients have asked us, is there a recall on Zantac? Its manufacturer and those selling it voluntarily took Zantac off the market in October 2019. Over time, more companies making a generic version have recalled their products as well. Many retailers have removed these drugs from their shelves while the FDA looks into the safety of the drug.

How Does the Zantac Recall Relate to a Cancer Risk?

NDMA is in water and foods, including meats, dairy products, and vegetables. At the time of the voluntary recall, the FDA stated it had been investigating NDMA and other impurities in medications. The agency is evaluating whether the NDMA in ranitidine-containing drugs is a risk to patients.

The agency claims that NDMA may be dangerous in large amounts, but the levels it found in preliminary tests barely exceed what you might find in common foods. The agency doesn’t know where the NDMA is coming from but is working with other agencies and manufacturers to determine how it’s ending up in these drugs.

Are Zantac and Ranitidine the Same?

Zantac is the brand name for a medication that has been around for years. Are Zantac and ranitidine the same? Yes. Ranitidine is a generic form of Zantac and is made by several companies.

Is Ranitidine Banned?

The FDA announced two voluntary recalls of ranitidine-containing products in January, by Appco Pharma LLC and Northwind Pharmaceuticals, which sold prescription ranitidine tablets made by Glenmark Pharmaceutical Inc. Is ranitidine banned? No, but the FDA has asked companies to recall the product if their testing shows levels of NDMA above the acceptable daily intake (96 nanograms or 96 billionths of a gram).

Some of the ranitidine drugs tested by the FDA showed far more NDMA than that acceptable level, according to test results published in November 2019. NDMA found in one sample was nearly 30 times the acceptable daily intake. Most of the tested drugs were above that level of NDMA, making the Zantac recall and cancer fears more reasonable.

NDMA Is a Cancer Risk and Is in Zantac and Ranitidine Drugs

The problem with Zantac and other ranitidine drugs might be greater than just the NDMA in the drug. As a side effect of digesting ranitidine, NDMA might be created within the body, according to an article in Scientific American. A 2016 Stanford University study involved 10 healthy volunteers taking 150 milligrams of Zantac. When their urine was later tested, NDMA levels found in it exceeded 47,000 nanograms. The actual amount created in their bodies may have been much higher, because most of it would’ve been metabolized before reaching their urine. Sanofi claims the study involved heating the sample drugs and adding other chemicals, either of which may have created NDMA.

Does NDMA Cause Cancer?

NDMA can cause cancer, because it modifies your DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). DNA is a long molecule containing our genetic code. It has instructions for building the proteins that are essential for our bodies to function. These instructions pass from parent to child. Changes in DNA can cause cells to mutate and become cancerous.

Human cells typically grow and divide to form new cells, according to the National Cancer Institute. When cells grow old or are damaged, they usually die or are destroyed by our immune system. New cells replace them.

If cancer develops, this process breaks down. As cells become more abnormal, old or damaged cells survive when they should not, and new cells form when they are not needed. The extra cells can divide without stopping and form masses of tissue called tumors. Cancerous tumors are malignant, which means they can invade nearby tissues. As they grow, some cancer cells travel to distant parts of the body and form new tumors far from the original one.

A Zantac cancer lawsuit could provide compensation for an individual whose cancer is caused by using the drug. Talk to a Zantac attorney at the accident and injury law office of Terry Bryant to find out if you have a case. You can call us toll-free at 1 (800) 444-5000, or locally at (713) 973-8888, or use our online form. Animal experiments have shown a link between NDMA and an increased risk of cancer, but the pharmaceutical industry claims there’s no consistent evidence showing how great a risk NDMA poses to people.

What Alternatives Are There to Zantac and Ranitidine?

The FDA hasn’t stated that people should stop using ranitidine, but if they no longer want to use it, they should talk to a healthcare professional about other options. Alternatives, according to the University of Virginia Health System, include:
Using a different H2 blocker, such as Pepcid (famotidine) or Tagamet (cimetidine)
A proton pump inhibitor (Prilosec, Nexium, Protonix)

Discontinuation of these medications (Patients may start using them and assume they need to continue, but that might not be the case. Long-term use carries some side effects.) ***Do not stop taking a prescription medication without first consulting with your doctor. Discontinuing a prescribed medication without your doctor’s advice can result in injury or death.***

  • Eating smaller meals
  • Not lying down after eating
  • Losing weight if you’re overweight
  • Not eating foods that make heartburn worse (fatty and spicy foods, tomato-based sauces, alcohol, carbonated beverages, caffeine, and chocolate)
  • Elevating the head of your bed
  • Wearing loose-fitting clothes.

A Zantac Cancer Lawsuit May Be the Right Option

Drug companies have billions of dollars at their disposal. You need to level the playing field by getting help from attorneys who can get results. The Houston-based legal team at the accident and injury law office of Terry Bryant have successfully helped clients injured by dangerous drugs.

If you or a family member has suffered injury as a result of taking Zantac, call our Zantac lawyer at (713) 973-8888, or toll-free at 1 (800) 444-5000.

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