In September 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement announcing the discovery of a potential link between an ingredient in ranitidine (Zantac) and cancer. Zantac is one of the most common brand names for ranitidine, a drug that is available both over-the-counter (OTC) and by prescription in the U.S.
Zantac And NDMA
The ingredient within Zantac products that has been linked to various types of cancer is a chemical known as N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). NDMA has been identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). NDMA is an H2 blocker, which is classified as a probable human carcinogen capable of causing cancer when ingested in excessive amounts over a prolonged period of time.
As of February 2020, the number of people affected by carcinogenic (cancerous) Zantac products is still unknown, and countries across the globe have issued numerous product recalls to remove Zantac and other ranitidine medications from their markets.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer after taking Zantac, you may be eligible to file a multidistrict lawsuit or join a class action against top Zantac drug manufacturers. The attorneys of Florin|Roebig can help those who wish to take legal action against Zantac drugmakers and seek compensation.
Difference Between Ranitidine And Zantac
Ranitidine is the generic name for the drug commonly sold in stores as Zantac. Thus, the two names may often be used interchangeably. Zantac is available in several different forms and strengths, depending on how you are getting the drug—i.e. over-the-counter or by prescription.
What Is Zantac/Ranitidine Used For?
Zantac is a common heartburn medication that can be used to treat conditions such as:
- gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- acid reflux
- peptic ulcer disease
- stress-induced ulcers
- hives (off-label)
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
Where Was Zantac/Ranitidine Available?
Zantac, as well as other generic versions of the drug were available at most major retailers such as:
Brand-name Zantac products come from the pharmaceutical company, Sanofi, which is one of the primary defendants now being sued by individuals nationwide. However, Sanofi is just one of 14 drugmakers that have issued voluntary recalls for ranitidine products since the initial FDA announcement in 2019. Sanofi is one of several pharmaceutical companies currently being sued by individuals in light of Zantac’s potentially cancerous side effects.
How Zantac Leads To Cancer
N-Nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA, is a nitrosamine compound found in pesticides, some cosmetic products, toiletries and fuel. However, it is also an environmental contaminant and people are most frequently exposed to NDMA through contaminated food and drinking water.
The FDA daily limit for ingesting NDMA is no more than 96 nanograms. Having higher levels of NDMA in the body carries the risk of having carcinogenic (cancerous) effects, with a higher risk the longer you are exposed to excessive amounts.
While conducting a routine test of ranitidine (Zantac) products early last year, the online pharmacy, Valisure, found amounts of NDMA that were 3,000 to 31,000 times higher than the FDA daily limit—more than 3,000,000 nanograms per tablet.
According to Valisure, when taken, the chemicals in Zantac that are known to form NDMA can produce exceedingly high amounts of NDMA in the body. This is attributed to what Valisure calls the “inherent instability” of ranitidine.
In September 2019, Valisure filed a citizen petition requesting that the FDA recall all ranitidine products in the United States based on their findings. This followed an initial notification provided to the FDA in June 2019.
After Valisure’s petition, the FDA conducted its own testing of ranitidine drugs. Low levels of NDMA we found during FDA testing, compared to those initially described by Valisure. However, the results were still a reason for concern.
Zantac is only one of several drugs in recent years to have been found to be contaminated with toxic levels of NDMA. Another recent and prominent example is the drug, Valsartan, an angiotensin II receptor blocker, which is primarily used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.
When Was Zantac Recalled?
On April 1, 2020, the FDA has issued a mandatory removal of all Zantac (Ranitidine) products from the market in response to the NDMA impurity that increases over time when stored at higher than room temperatures.
The first voluntary recall of ranitidine products in the United States came from the drugmaker, Sandoz Inc. on September 23, 2019—10 days after the FDA’s initial announcement.
The creator of brand-name Zantac products, Sanofi, issued its first Zantac recall on October 23, 2019. This recall extended to the company’s primary OTC Zantac products, including Zantac 150, Zantac 75, and Zantac 150 Cool Mint.
In response to the initial test findings from Valisure, numerous countries worldwide have issued full and partial recalls on the heartburn drug. Some countries, such as Canada and Bangladesh, have gone even further, issuing a ban on sales of ranitidine products.
Types Of Cancer Linked To Zantac
The cancerous agent in Zantac products, NDMA, is a common chemical that can have toxic effects on several organs throughout the body.
Some types of cancer linked to NDMA include:
- bladder cancer
- brain cancer
- breast cancer
- colorectal cancer
- esophagus cancer
- kidney cancer
- liver cancer (and liver disease)
- lung cancer
- ovarian cancer
- stomach cancer
- testicular cancer
- thyroid cancer
- uterine cancer
The risk of cancer associated with NDMA has been known for decades, according to records of statements out of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
There have also been multiple studies conducted on ranitidine (Zantac) products in the last two decades showing evidence of the drugs causing dangerously high levels of NDMA in animals and humans. Despite these research findings, Zantac products continued to be manufactured and sold by more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies.
Whether the drugmakers willfully and maliciously withheld information about the potential link between their products and cancer is still under investigation by federal and legal professionals.
Will I Develop Cancer After Taking Zantac?
At this point in time, it’s difficult to say how many people who have taken Zantac products will be or have been affected by the carcinogen, NDMA. If you or a loved one has taken Zantac irregularly and in generally small amounts, it’s unlikely that you have been exposed to enough NDMA to cause cancer.
If you’re concerned about your cancer risk, your best option is to speak to a healthcare professional immediately. A physician with knowledge of your medical history can provide a full assessment of any potential health effects of taking Zantac, including your risk for cancer.
There are many alternative brand name and generic drugs that can be used to treat issues related to stomach acid. As of April 1, 2020, the FDA had not found NDMA in heartburn medications such as:
- Nexium (esomeprazole)
- Pepcid (famotidine)
- Prevacid (lansoprazole)
- Prilosec (omeprazole)
- Tagamet (cimetidine)
- Chewable antacids
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What To Do If You’ve Been Diagnosed With Cancer After Taking Zantac
If you or a loved one has received a cancer diagnosis after taking Zantac products, you may be eligible to join thousands of others in suing the drugs’ top manufacturers.
Many people have now joined together in filing class action and multidistrict lawsuits against Zantac drugmakers under the allegation that they neglected to properly inform the government, prescribing physicians, and the broader public of the drugs’ potentially cancerous effects.
Zantac lawsuits have fallen into one of several categories, depending on the reason for which individuals are pursuing legal action:
- product liability suits (i.e. dangerous drugs)
- personal injury
- wrongful death
By taking legal action against Zantac drugmakers, you may be able to recover compensation for both financial and physical losses, as well as pain and suffering. For people who have been diagnosed with cancer, or have battled cancer after taking Zantac, this compensation may be used to compensate for the extensive medical costs associated with cancer treatments, as well as other related damages.
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Take Legal Action Against Zantac Manufacturers
If you wish to take legal action against Zantac manufacturers, the most effective ally you can have is an experienced team of personal injury attorneys. At Florin|Roebig, our priority is helping our clients seek justice for unlawful harms, including drug-related personal injury and wrongful death.
Our attorneys have extensive experience standing up to powerful companies and advocating for a settlement that is no less than what our clients deserve based on the extent of their damages.
If you or a loved one has experienced significant, negative health effects after taking Zantac products, our attorneys may be able to help you recover compensation. Time is of the essence. Don’t wait to join others in taking legal action against Zantac manufacturers for their failure to protect the safety of the public.
Contact the offices of Florin|Roebig today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our top-rated attorneys to discuss the details of your case.