Zantac (ranitidine) is a popular heartburn drug that has recently been recalled by multiple pharmaceutical companies following test results showing unsafe levels of NDMA—a cancer-causing agent—in their products.
This chemical—which can also be found in certain foods, household products, and contaminated water—has been linked to serious health problems in humans, including various types of cancer, liver disease, and reduced kidney function.
One of the primary types of cancer linked to overexposure to NDMA is cancer of the esophagus, or esophageal cancer. In recent years, there has been greater spotlight on the overlap of people who have developed esophageal cancer and people with acid reflux problems.
In the context of Zantac recalls and the NDMA contamination, this overlap is important, as Zantac is commonly used to treat acid reflux and related conditions, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
GERD And Esophageal Cancer
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common condition of acid reflux, typically occurring after someone eats too much too quickly or lies down too quickly after eating. There are an estimated 3 million cases of GERD in the U.S. each year.
With GERD, the acid that digests food in the stomach rises up to the esophagus. This can lead to major irritation over time. Over years of acid reflux problems, GERD may lead to the development of a condition called Barrett’s Esophagus, which can advance to esophageal cancer.
Gastric reflux issues, including GERD, are one of the primary reasons for which people take Zantac (ranitidine) drugs. Zantac belongs to a class of drugs known as H2-blockers, which can prevent the production of acid in the stomach, helping prevent or ease reflux.
Causes Of Esophageal Cancer
Esophageal cancer is one of the rare types of cancer among people in the United States, making up just about 1 percent of all cases of cancer. In 2019, an estimated 17,650 people in the U.S. received a new esophageal cancer diagnosis.
There is no one single cause for esophageal cancer, however, some of the primary risk factors, according to the National Cancer Institute, include:
- older age
- chronic heavy drinking
- having gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- high body fat
Men are about three times more likely to be diagnosed with esophageal cancer than women, with a lifetime risk of 1 in 132.
However, that still leaves about a 1 in 455 lifetime risk for women—a rate that is of great relevance to women like Virginia resident, Deborah Haskins, who recently filed a lawsuit against Zantac drugmakers, naming them liable for causing her esophageal cancer.
Haskins is suing multiple pharmaceutical companies—including GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi U.S.—on the grounds of a design defect in their ranitidine (generic Zantac) products and battery, due to having developed esophageal cancer after taking Zantac regularly for years.
How Zantac May Increase Risk For Esophageal Cancer
In September 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a public safety announcement, reporting a discovered NDMA contamination in certain Zantac products.
Although trace amounts of NDMA can still be safe to ingest, recent testing of Zantac drugs have shown these products containing dangerously toxic amounts of NDMA.
Even more concerning is research indicating that, due to the instability of the ranitidine chemical, the human body may be capable of generating even higher amounts of NDMA after taking the drug.
Esophageal cancer has been named as one of the primary types of cancer that may be caused by long-term overexposure to NDMA, along with stomach cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, and more.
This discovery of a potential link between Zantac and esophageal cancer has raised major alarm, as only 20 percent of those who are diagnosed with this type of cancer survive past five years.
It’s important to note that no explicit link between taking Zantac and esophageal cancer has yet been made. Other risk factors such as smoking and heavy drinking can also play a key role in the development of this type of cancer.
Many individuals are now consulting their doctors and experienced dangerous drug attorneys for guidance on how they may be able to take legal action against pharmaceutical companies who have profited from these drugs.
Symptoms Of Esophageal Cancer
Esophageal cancer is a cancer that affects the tube connecting the throat to the stomach. This cancer begins in the inner lining of the esophagus before moving towards other layers.
Common symptoms of esophageal cancer include:
- painful or difficulty swallowing
- unexplained weight loss
- lump under the skin
- pain behind the breastbone
- unexplained cough
- chest pain
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What To Do If You’ve Taken Zantac And Developed Esophageal Cancer
Thousands of people have started taking legal action against pharmaceutical companies who were involved in producing Zantac products, alleging that taking Zantac led to their cancer diagnosis, or wrongful death of a loved one.
If you’ve taken Zantac or other ranitidine drugs regularly and been diagnosed with esophageal cancer, you may be able to recover compensation.
For those concerned about the potential link between Zantac and esophageal cancer, consider the following steps:
Consult Your Doctor
If you’ve already been diagnosed with esophageal cancer, it might be useful to consult with your doctor to ask after whether they believe it’s possible that taking Zantac contributed to or caused your cancer.
Your doctor, or your cancer treatment team, may have a unique insight into what they believe to be the probable cause of your cancer. They may also be able to provide reliable testimony in court should you wish to sue Zantac drugmakers for failing to disclose the presence of a toxic chemical in their products.
Contact An Attorney
Having an effective legal ally on your side can make an enormous difference when it comes to standing up to powerful and influential companies.
An experienced attorney who has been following the recent Zantac recalls and lawsuits can determine if you are eligible to file a lawsuit against Zantac drugmakers based on the nature of your cancer and your use of Zantac.
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Find Help Taking Legal Action Against Zantac Drugmakers
For decades, the award-winning attorneys of Florin|Roebig have provided unmatchable legal representation for various clients who have suffered injury or wrongful death at the fault of influential defendants—including those in the pharmaceutical industry.
Our attorneys can determine if you qualify to file an individual or class action lawsuit against Zantac drugmakers for their potential role in your or a loved one’s esophageal cancer diagnosis.
Time is of the essence. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our top-rated dangerous drug attorneys.