If you or a family member received a Zantac prescription, you may have been exposed to a compound that causes cancer.
The US Food and Drugs Administration recently ordered all ranitidine medications, marketed under the brand name, Zantac, taken off store shelves. The order came after months of investigation into a possible cancer risk in the product.
The agency had earlier announced in September 2019 that it was conducting an investigation into the popular heartburn medication. Since then, several studies have indicated strong links between Zantac and a cancer-causing compound, NDMA.
Investigations revealed that the carcinogen occurred as a by-product in Zantac medications at levels up to 3,000 times greater than FDA recommended limits. The FDA has now come to the conclusion that the cancer risk in the product is unacceptable.
If you were diagnosed with any type of cancer after taking Zantac medication, your condition may be as a result of the medication, and you may have a claim for damages. Here at Nguyen and Associates, we are currently accepting cases in which patients took Zantac or other forms of ranitidine and then developed cancer.
If you suspect that you were put at risk due to the medication, call our Zantac lawsuit attorneys for a free case review.
What is Zantac and what does it do?
Zantac is the brand name for ranitidine, a histamine H2-receptor antagonist. The medication, also referred to as an H2 blocker, is a heartburn medication usually prescribed for patients with symptoms including indigestion and sour stomach.
It is also routinely prescribed for treatment of ulcers, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The drug is marketed in many forms, including mint lozenges, oral suspensions, tablets and injection into a muscle or vein. These may be prescribed by a health professional or bought over the counter.
The medication works by reducing the amount acid the stomach produces. It does this by binding to certain proteins in the stomach called histamine H2 receptors.
Ordinarily, when a person eats, the body releases a hormone called Gastrin. This hormone aids digestion by increasing the movement of the stomach so it can churn food and also by prompting the release of histamine. When released, histamine binds to H2 receptors in the stomach and causes the release of gastric acid to aid digestion.
For people that have heartburn, some of this gastric acid comes back up the esophageal sphincter when it should not, leading to heartburn. Ranitidine is then prescribed to reduce the amount of gastric acid produced in the stomach so it is less likely to flow back into the esophagus.
Since the patent on ranitidine lapsed, several generic versions of the drug have made their way to the market. However, Zantac is still the most popular and it is sold in the US by Sanofi.
Zantac recalls amid cancer risk
Concerns have been expressed regarding Zantac since September 2019 when the FDA began investigating the medication. The inquiry into Zantac was part of a wider investigation into the presence of carcinogens in several heart failure and blood pressure medications since 2018.
The FDA had earlier announced recalls of various drugs with valsartan, an active ingredient used to treat heart diseases, due to its NDMA content. When this same chemical was found in some heartburn medications, inquiries also began into Zantac.
The carcinogen was discovered in Zantac medication by Valisure, a Connecticut-based online pharmacy. The company, which routinely tests its products before sale reported that it found “extremely high levels” of NDMA in ranitidine pills.
They reported that the carcinogen was detected at very high levels in the pills, more than 3 million nanograms of NDMA per tablet. This was an amount more than 31,000 times higher than the FDA’s permissible daily limit of 96 nanograms.
Valisure submitted a citizen petition to the FDA on September 9, 2019, in which it recommended that the agency act to protect public health by recalled all ranitidine products in the US.
Although the FDA did not immediately call for recalls of the medications, it published a warning regarding the drug. Since then, the FDA has requested that all manufacturers recall their ranitidine medications and has even advised patients to avoid the medication.
What is NDMA and how is it in Zantac?
NDMA, short for N-nitrosopdimethylamine, is a nitrosamine impurity that is classified by the World Health Organization as a probable carcinogen. The International Agency for Research on Cancer also regards the compound as being unsafe for human consumption and a likely cause of cancer.
Several studies have established the dangerous nature of NDMA and how it may expose consumers using ranitidine or other similar medications to the risk of cancer.
A 2015 study of 49 dietary studies on NDMA and other compounds found that high consumption of NDMA was associated with an increased risk of gastric cancer. The study reported that those who had a high intake of the compound had a 34% greater risk of developing cancer than those with low intake.
Another large study published in the Carcinogensis journal in 2019 found that NDMA intake was associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. The study found 93% greater odds of developing cancer in people that ate certain foods very high in NDMA.
Research from Valisure concluded that the compound was produced in the body as a result of the “inherent instability of the ranitidine molecule”. Other studies are however considering the manufacturing process of ranitidine medication as being culprit for the shockingly high levels of NDMA in the drugs.
Are you at risk of cancer due to Zantac medication?
At the moment, the advice to consumers and patients who were prescribed Zantac medication is to stop using the product and speak to their doctor. If you regularly use the medication, you may be at high risk of exposure to the carcinogen.
If you have bene using the product for a long time, you may be even more susceptible to a range of cancer types including:
- Stomach or gastric cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Colon or intestinal cancer
- Uterine cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Liver cancer
However, if you have already been diagnosed with cancer, your illness may be attributable to the medication if it had been prescribed to you previously. If you are in this position, you may have a right to file a claim for compensation.
We can help you file a Zantac lawsuit
If you were harmed because you took ranitidine medications or Zantac, you may have a dangerous drugs lawsuit. Manufacturers of drugs are expected to be absolutely careful and ensure that their products are fit for human consumption. When they fail at this duty, they can be held responsible for their negligence.
Several lawsuits have already been filed against Zantac manufacturers, alleging that they knew about the dangers in the product or should have known. Many more cases are expected to be filed.
If you or your loved one took Zantac or any other ranitidine product and received a cancer diagnosis as a result, we want to hear your story. You may have a claim for damages in a Zantac lawsuit.
Nguyen and Associates is currently interviewing claimants that are seeking damages for the harm they have suffered. Contact us today to understand your rights and if you have a claim for a Zantac lawsuit.