Zantac is one of the most common brand names for the generic drug, ranitidine. Ranitidine is classified as histamine-2 receptor antagonists (also known as H2 blockers), and are available over-the-counter (OTC) or by prescription to treat various health issues and conditions.
Common medical conditions treated with Zantac (ranitidine) include:
- acid reflux and heartburn
- gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- peptic or stomach ulcers
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
Although Zantac (ranitidine) has consistently been one of the top 50 drugs taken by individuals in the U.S., the recent discovery of a cancer-causing chemical within ranitidine has raised concerns about the drug’s side effects. One of these long-term side effects may be increased risk for cancer.
If you or a loved one has regularly taken Zantac for a health condition, you may wish to consult with your doctor to determine your risk for cancer and negative side effects related to long-term use.
Zantac Side Effects Long-Term : What We Know
Ranitidine (Zantac) is a highly popular heartburn drug that was first introduced to the U.S. drug market in 1983, after already being approved for use in thirty-one countries worldwide. By 1988, it had become the world’s top-selling drug.
In the United States, all prescription drugs must first be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they can be sold. To receive FDA approval, drugmakers must be able to provide ample evidence supporting the drug’s usefulness and safety for American consumers.
As a drug that has been around for decades, Zantac is one such drug that has been evaluated for potential side effects and health risks. However, in recent months, long-term side effects of Zantac have been under greater scrutiny once again, after routine testing of certain Zantac products in 2019 showed elevated levels of the cancerous chemical, NDMA.
This finding has complicated healthcare providers’ understanding of how safe Zantac is for use. No drug is necessarily safe for everyone, and for years Zantac products have come with warning labels detailing potential short- and long-term side effects.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), individuals who take ranitidine drugs may experience the following side effects:
- chest pain not associated with heartburn
- dark urine
- shortness of breath
- stomach pain
Zantac may also not be safe for individuals with liver or kidney disease, or for people who have allergic reactions to ranitidine. Other health conditions, as well as the use of certain drugs, supplements, or herbs may to negative drug interactions when taking Zantac.
Common side effects of a mild to moderate nature not been an issue of concern. The greatest concern about potential serious side effects of Zantac is the increased risk for cancer among people who have taken the drug regularly for years.
Is Cancer A Long-Term Side Effect Of Taking Zantac?
In September 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a statement alerting healthcare providers and the public to the discovery of a cancer-causing chemical in certain ranitidine (Zantac) products.
This discovery came from the lab of an online pharmacy named Valisure, which found excessive amounts of the chemical, NDMA, in certain ranitidine products during routine testing.
There is not currently enough evidence to determine whether all Zantac products can cause cancer. If you have taken Zantac only once, it is unlikely that you are at increased risk for cancer.
Researchers from Harvard Medical School have stated that the carcinogenic chemical found in Zantac is only likely to increase your cancer risk if you have taken the drug regularly for an extended amount of time.
For some, this statement may come as a relief. However, for many people in the United States, taking ranitidine products regularly for months or even years has been their reality, as a common treatment for various health issues.
More than 15 million prescriptions for ranitidine (Zantac) are written by doctors in the U.S. each year. It’s critical that the public is aware of the potential risk of developing cancer after taking Zantac for a long period of time.
Zantac (Ranitidine) Long-Term Side Effects Caused By NDMA
The recent concern about Zantac side effects and cancer comes from the discovery of an NDMA impurity in certain lots of ranitidine products.
N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) is classified as a probable human carcinogen that can be found in many commonplace items, including certain foods, contaminated water, fuel, and some cosmetic products.
The FDA-recommended daily intake of NDMA is no more than 96 nanograms. Recent testing of Zantac products has shown amounts of NDMA in certain ranitidine products that exceed this, reaching up to 31,000 times the recommended limit.
However, the concern does not stop there. According to researchers, as a result of how Zantac works in the body, it’s also possible for the body to generate even higher amounts of NDMA after taking the drug.
Unlike Zantac, NDMA is not a drug that has received FDA approval for safe use. For decades, federal agencies have been aware of the potentially cancerous effect of overexposure to NDMA.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), potential side effects and symptoms of overexposure to NDMA include:
- various types of cancer
- liver disease
- enlarged liver
- reduced kidney function
- jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
- stomach cramps
Experiencing one or more of these symptoms does not mean you have been overexposed to NDMA or are at risk for cancer. Being aware of these side effects and health risks, however, may be important if you or a loved one has been taking Zantac long-term.
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What To Do If You’ve Taken Zantac For An Extended Amount Of Time
For many people, the recent news about the potential link between Zantac and cancer has been frightening, especially for those who have taken Zantac regularly for some time.
If you or a loved one has taken Zantac and:
- received a cancer diagnosis
- is concerned about your risk for cancer
- has suffered liver or kidney damage after taking Zantac
Follow these important steps to determine your risk for long-term Zantac side effects and your legal rights:
Contact Your Physician Immediately
If you’ve taken Zantac in the past or are currently taking Zantac (ranitidine) for a health issue, contact your physician right away for medical advice.
Even if you have taken the drug irregularly, it’s best to err on the safe side and consult with a doctor who can assess your risk for negative side effects based on your previous and current medical history.
The FDA has not officially recommended that people who are taking Zantac stop taking the drug. However, the agency has provided suggestions for safe alternatives for patients who wish to switch to a different drug or treat their health condition through non-pharmaceutical methods.
Consider Taking Legal Action
Zantac is a widely used drug, and while the exact number of people who have been affected by contaminated ranitidine products is still unknown, many people have begun taking legal action against Zantac drugmakers for cancer diagnoses received after taking the drug.
There are three primary ways in which people are taking legal action against Zantac manufacturers:
Wrongful death lawsuits are suits that may be filed by surviving family members of someone who has died due to cancer after taking Zantac for an extended amount of time. This type of lawsuit can help surviving loved ones recover damages such as medical expenses and funeral costs.
Class action lawsuits are lawsuits that represent groups of people who have been unlawfully harmed by a person, product, or service. The settlement for a class action is distributed equally among plaintiffs (injured victims).
The most common form of legal action being taken against Zantac drugmakers, however, is multidistrict litigation. Multidistrict litigation lawsuits involve multiple individual lawsuits that can be more easily handled by a court of law than hundreds or thousands of individual lawsuits.
Unlike class action suits, multidistrict litigation allows plaintiffs to receive all compensation named within their settlement, rather than sharing the compensation among all plaintiffs equally. This type of suit can also be more useful for recovering various types of damages, including both economic and non-economic losses.
Contact An Attorney
If you’re unsure if you qualify to file a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies that have marketed and sold dangerous Zantac products, the attorneys of Florin|Roebig can help.
Our team of experienced attorneys can determine if you are eligible to file a lawsuit against Zantac drugmakers, and determine the types of losses you can seek to recover. This may include economic losses such as medical treatment costs as well as non-economic losses such as pain and suffering.
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Find Help Filing A Lawsuit Against Zantac Drug Manufacturers
Since 1985, the attorneys of Florin|Roebig have been diligently fighting for the rights of individuals to recover compensation for losses suffered due to personal injury or death.
Our results speak for themselves, with over $1 billion in results for clients nationwide. If you or a loved one has suffered serious health effects after taking Zantac products, our attorneys want to help.