As of February 2020, 14 pharmaceutical manufacturers have issued voluntary recalls of ranitidine (Zantac) products in response to a recently discovered link between Zantac and various types of cancer.
This link between Zantac and cancer was revealed through routine testing of ranitidine (Zantac) drugs during the summer of 2019, which showed these products containing unacceptable levels of the cancerous chemical, NDMA.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the federal agency in charge of evaluating drug safety, has not issued a mandatory recall of Zantac drugs at this time, nor issued an official recommendation for people who are taking Zantac to stop taking the drug.
However, in light of this and other potential health risks from NDMA, it’s important for people to be aware of what alternatives to Zantac may be available, based on the type of health issue Zantac is being used to treat.
Types Of Health Issues Zantac Treats
Zantac is one of the most common brand names for the drug ranitidine. It is an antihistamine drug (H2-blocker) that primarily works in the body by reducing the production of acid in the stomach. This can make it an effective drug for treating acid reflux and other associated symptoms.
Zantac is available as an over-the-counter (OTC) drug, or by prescription (ranitidine) to treat several health issues related to discomfort of the stomach and esophagus.
Common health issues treated with Zantac include:
- gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
- other stomach and esophagus problems
More than 15 million prescriptions for Zantac (ranitidine) are written by doctors in the United States each year. Since its introduction to the global drug market, it has become one of the most widely used and top-selling drugs among individuals worldwide.
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Zantac Medication Alternatives
Although the FDA has not called on people who are taking Zantac to stop taking the drug, the agency has offered several suggestions for alternative drugs that have not been similarly contaminated by cancerous chemicals.
Zantac is not the only drug of its kind to be effective for treating certain health issues. Depending on the reason for which you are taking Zantac, you may have several different options for a safe treatment alternative.
Safe alternatives to Zantac that have been highlighted following recent drug recalls have been broadly categorized as pharmaceutical (drug) and non-pharmaceutical (lifestyle change) in nature.
As part of the investigation into the safety of Zantac and other recent drug recalls, the FDA has tested and identified several drugs similar to Zantac that do not contain NDMA, the cancer-causing chemical.
Drugs that may be used as a safe alternative to Zantac include:
- Prilosec (omeprazole)
- Pepcid (famotidine)
- Nexium (esomeprazole)
- Prevacid (lansoprazole)
- Tagamet (cimetidine)
If you are currently taking Zantac on a regular basis for a health issue, consider speaking to your doctor to determine an alternative treatment that best suits your needs based on your personal medical history and health status.
Although not all ranitidine products have been identified by the FDA as containing an NDMA impurity at this time, if you are taking Zantac, it may be most beneficial to your health to consider switching to a different drug for treatment.
Not every health issue treated with Zantac may benefit from treatment alternatives that don’t involve some sort of pharmaceutical drug. However, for issues such as acid reflux and heartburn, people who take Zantac may be able to prevent or reduce the discomfort of these milder issues in one of several ways.
If you are taking Zantac for acid reflux or mild stomach discomfort, you might consider:
- avoiding or reducing your intake of high-fat and spicy foods (as these can trigger acid reflux)
- avoiding alcohol and smoking
- avoid eating very large meals or eating too quickly
- reducing your intake of carbonated beverages such as soda
- elevating the head of your bed (for nighttime reflux)
If you are considering an alternative to Zantac for the treatment of a health issue, it’s best to consult your doctor before making any changes on your own. While lifestyle changes may be beneficial for some people as a Zantac alternative, this might not be enough to serve as an effective alternative for all people.
Dangers Of Taking Zantac: Why Is Zantac Being Recalled?
Several brand-name Zantac and ranitidine products have been pulled from U.S. pharmacies, big-box stores, and chain drug stores alike following the discovery of elevated amounts of the chemical, NDMA, in select ranitidine products.
NDMA is a chemical found in various foods, vegetables, and other common products—in trace amounts. The FDA-recommended daily limit for NDMA in humans is 96 nanograms (ng). During a routine testing last year, the online pharmaceutical company, Valisure, found amounts of NDMA in ranitidine (Zantac) that reached upwards of 3,000,000 ng per tablet.
Following this discovery, Valisure contacted the FDA to report these findings. Months later, the company reasserted their concern by requesting an immediate and comprehensive recall of all ranitidine products in the United States as a safety measure for consumer protection.
Although the FDA has not issued a mandatory recall of ranitidine products, many top ranitidine drugmakers—including Sanofi and Glenmark—have issued recalls of their products voluntarily for reasons that include:
- finding high levels of NDMA in their drugs through lab testing
- recognizing the potential of the dangerous health risks and temporarily recalling their products accordingly
The FDA is currently investigating the scope of contaminated Zantac products, how many people are affected, and whether Zantac drugmakers were aware of the potential cancer risk in their products before and as they were reaping significant profit from them.
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Find Help Taking Legal Action Against Zantac Drugmakers
The potential link between Zantac (ranitidine) and cancer has provoked strong reactions from many healthcare providers and people who take Zantac. Thousands of people across the U.S. have joined together to take legal action against Zantac drugmakers by filing individual and class action lawsuits on account of personal injury and wrongful death.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer after taking Zantac, you may be eligible to take legal action and recover compensation for your losses. As a top-rated law firm that has provided excellent legal representation for decades, the attorneys of Florin|Roebig have the knowledge and skills necessary to determine your eligibility for filing a class action or multidistrict lawsuit.
Don’t wait to take legal action against Zantac drugmakers for failing to protect public safety. Call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our attorneys to discuss the details of your case.