Monday, November 02, 2020

Does The Zantac Recall Mean The Drug Is Really Dangerous

In September 2019, the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. announced that they found N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a contaminant and probable carcinogen, in products containing ranitidine, such as Zantac. Immediately, scientists were brought in to start checking batches of the common over-the-counter heartburn medication for the presence of carcinogens. This compound, NDMA, can be found in exceedingly low levels in roasted meats, dairy, cheeses, and beer because of the fermentation process, as well as dairy products and vegetables. 

But in all of this frenzy, consumers started asking: how much am I really at risk? Should I be worried?

What is Zantac?

NDMA is classified as a group as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and is believed to cause cancer after high exposure over a long period of time. While there is no direct evidence that it causes cancer in humans, it has caused cancer in animals, which is why scientists believe that it poses the same risk to humans. That doesn’t mean people should assume they are safe. There are different ethical standards that prevent us from being able to test a lot of medical hypotheses, so we rely on what similar studies show.

Ranitidine is both an antihistamine and an antacid that is used to treat and prevent heartburn. Doctors also prescribe it to treat stomach ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or other conditions caused or exacerbated by high acid. 

The FDA has set an acceptable limit for how much a person can take of NDMA per day. Unfortunately, batches of ranitidine, the most important ingredient in Zantac, were found to have contained levels of NDMA in excess of what is allowed by the FDA. Scientists at an independent pharmacy called Valisure believe that NDMA may cause cancer after exposure to high doses, and they confirmed that they found high concentrations of it in ranitidine. 

But it gets worse: The concentration of NDMA increases in ranitidine medicines over time, even if stored at room temperature. And the concentration went up dramatically when stored or exposed to warm or hot temperatures. Due to its categorization as a possible carcinogen, regulatory agencies deemed the drug unsafe and have recalled Zantac.

Being Diagnosed With Cancer After Taking Zantac

If you or a member of your family was diagnosed with cancer after taking Zantac, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. But before you do that, you should hire a personal injury lawyer. Click here if you want to learn more about cancer types caused by Zantac and what a personal injury attorney can do for you if you have experienced any of the following symptoms: 

  • Abdominal pain that is not related to heartburn
  • Back pain
  • Black, greasy, or tarry stool
  • Dark or bloody urine
  • Decreased appetite
  • Fatigue, weakness, or dizziness (signs of anemia)
  • Increasingly irregular bowel movements
  • Itchy skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Painful and burning urination
  • Uncontrolled weight loss
  • Yellowing skin

How To Stay Safe

Ranitidine is only supposed to be used for a short period of time. So if you have been using ranitidine for a long while, several years or even months, then you should talk with your doctor about whether or not you need it, and what other available treatment options are. Lifestyle changes, such as avoiding spicy foods or alcohol, can reduce acid and help prevent heartburn.

This is a guest blog entry.

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