Ranitidine is the active ingredient in the popular heartburn drug, Zantac, which has recently become the subject of thousands of lawsuits across the United States.
Recent lab testing for determining the safety of ranitidine has shown unsafe amounts of a cancerous chemical called NDMA in certain ranitidine products. This has been confirmed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which released a statement on the NDMA impurity in ranitidine on September 13, 2019.
Since this FDA announcement, over a dozen pharmaceutical companies that manufacture ranitidine products have recalled their drugs, with many pharmacies, chain drugstores, and big-box stores similarly removing ranitidine from their store shelves.
If you or a loved one takes ranitidine for a health condition, it’s recommended that you talk to your doctor as soon as possible to determine whether the benefits of taking ranitidine outweigh the potential costs, including an increased risk for cancer.
Many people who take ranitidine take it long-term as a treatment for acid reflux and other health conditions. Based on the discovery of NDMA in ranitidine, it may not be safe for you to continue taking ranitidine if your health issue can be treated by another drug that does not contain NDMA.
Ranitidine Uses And Length Of Treatment
Millions of people haven take ranitidine and Zantac drugs for a variety of reasons, typically related to gastric and reflux problems. As an antacid, ranitidine works in the body by reducing the production of acid in the stomach. It is also classified as an antihistamine.
Common conditions treated by ranitidine:
- gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- stomach ulcers
- Zollinger Ellison syndrome
- other gastric or acid reflux-related issues
Generic ranitidine is available over-the-counter and by prescription for short- and long-term use. People who have occasional acid reflux or heartburn are less likely to take ranitidine as frequently as someone with chronic heartburn or a more severe condition requiring daily drug doses.
Those who take ranitidine or Zantac OTC are recommended not to take the drug for more than two weeks unless directed by a doctor. Taking any drug, including ranitidine, for longer than recommended by a physician may lead to adverse side effects.
The length of time people take ranitidine is typically determined by the reason for which they are taking the drug. Individuals taking ranitidine to treat GERD, for instance, may require either short- or long-term treatment, depending on the severity of the condition and other personal factors. While some individuals may take ranitidine for only a few weeks, many others have taken this drug for years.
Safety Concerns Of Taking Ranitidine: Ranitidine And Cancer
Across the globe, numerous countries have issued recalls for ranitidine and brand-name Zantac products, viewing the discovery of NDMA in these products as a public health concern. In the United States alone, an estimated 16 million prescriptions are written for ranitidine each year.
Some researchers believe recalling ranitidine for further testing is merely preventative to ensure the public is not exposed to any unreasonable risk. However, others following this issue—such as Valisure, the online pharmacy that first detected the NDMA in ranitidine—believe there is strong evidence that taking ranitidine long-term may have exposed individuals to a significantly increased risk for cancer.
This potential link between taking ranitidine and cancer has become a concern among healthcare providers and their patients. While NDMA is classified as a probable carcinogen by the CDC and other federal agencies, the likelihood of the NDMA in ranitidine causing cancer is still under investigation.
The FDA has not advised people who are taking ranitidine for a health condition to stop taking the drug at this time. The FDA has been officially referring to the NDMA in ranitidine as a contamination or impurity found in only certain ranitidine and Zantac products.
However, there is also evidence found through research that it’s the chemical structure of ranitidine that causes the body to produce dangerous amounts of NDMA after taking the drug. This means that, regardless of whether high amounts of NDMA can be detected in ranitidine, the real danger may come from the NDMA that is produced after taking the drug.
Who Is At Risk For Cancer After Taking Ranitidine?
If you or a loved one has taken ranitidine for an extended amount of time (i.e. years) on a regular basis, you may be at greater risk for cancer compared to someone who has only taken ranitidine for occasional heartburn.
Scholars out of Harvard Medical School have estimated that it’s only long-term overexposure to NDMA that is likely to increase a person’s risk for developing cancer. The safety of taking ranitidine, and how long it might take for a person to become at-risk for developing cancer while taking ranitidine, is under investigation.
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Ranitidine (Zantac) Cancer Lawsuits
Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers of ranitidine, with plaintiffs alleging that taking ranitidine caused their cancer or caused the death of a loved one who developed cancer after taking ranitidine.
Ranitidine lawsuits include class actions—which represent groups of people harmed or affected by the NDMA in ranitidine—as well as individual suits that have been filed for personal injury and wrongful death.
This issue has largely been treated as a product liability case due to the failure of ranitidine drugmakers to adequately warn the government, doctors, and consumers of the NDMA in their drugs and the associated health risks.
We Are Nationally Awarded Lawyers
Taking Legal Action Against Ranitidine Manufacturers
If you’re concerned about your risk of developing cancer after taking ranitidine, or worried about a loved one, you are not alone.
Thousands of individuals and their loved ones are scared, confused, and angry at the pharmaceutical companies that produced, marketed, and sold these drugs to the public without warning consumers of the NDMA in their products.
The attorneys of Florin|Roebig have experience handling important legal cases involving defective and dangerous drugs. Our attorneys are committed to effectively representing individuals and loved ones who have been unlawfully harmed or put at risk by dangerous products and services.
Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our attorneys to determine whether you are eligible to file an individual or class action lawsuit against ranitidine manufacturers.