Brand-name Zantac products are commonly used in the United States and worldwide to treat issues such as heartburn, acid reflux, and ulcers.
Recent concerns have emerged about the safety of Zantac, however, in response to alarming test results out of the laboratory of online pharmacy, Valisure. These test results showed unsafe levels of a carcinogenic (cancerous) chemical known as NDMA in their tested Zantac products.
One of the types of cancer linked to overexposure to NDMA is stomach (gastric) cancer. Stomach cancer is diagnosed in an estimated 27,600 people in the U.S. each year, mostly in adults aged 65 and older.
Many people who have taken Zantac regularly, or have lost a loved one to cancer after using Zantac products, are now suing Zantac drugmakers for failing to disclose the potential link between use of their products and various cancers.
Why People Take Zantac
Zantac is a widely used antacid that was first introduced to the U.S. drug market in 1983. Since then, it has become one of the top-selling drugs in the U.S. and worldwide, available over-the-counter (OTC) and by prescription.
Zantac products, such as Zantac 150 Cool Mint and Zantac 75, contain the active ingredient, ranitidine, which works in the body by reducing how much acid is produced in the stomach. This is believed to be effective for treating acid reflux-related heartburn.
Common health conditions treated with Zantac include:
- gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- ulcers in stomach and intestines
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
While many people may take OTC Zantac on occasion to relieve heartburn or acid reflux, an estimated 15 million prescriptions are written for ranitidine in the U.S. each year for short- and long-term use of ranitidine drugs.
How Zantac May Increase Risk For Stomach Cancer
Stomach (gastric) cancer is one of several cancers that has been linked to regular or long-term use of Zantac products after the discovery of the cancer-causing chemical, NDMA, in ranitidine products.
This discovery occurred in June 2019 when the online pharmacy, Valisure, detected unsafe amounts of NDMA, a probable carcinogen, in batches of ranitidine products. The company immediately reported these findings to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which issued an announcement about these findings later that year in September.
The FDA reported this issue as an NDMA impurity found in certain Zantac products. However, several researchers—as well as the company that discovered this public health danger—dispute this. Instead, they claim that it is an instability of the active ingredient in Zantac that causes the human body to produce dangerously high amounts of NDMA after taking the drug.
In routine testing of ranitidine, Valisure discovered over 3,000,000 nanograms of NDMA in each Zantac tablet—a number that far exceeds the FDA-recommended daily limit of 90 nanograms.
Who Is At Risk For Stomach Cancer After Taking Zantac?
The primary population at risk for cancer after taking Zantac, according to Harvard Medical School, are those who have taken Zantac regularly (more than twice a week) for months or years at a time.
However, the exact risk or probability of Zantac causing stomach cancer, or other types of cancers, is currently unknown.
The FDA has not issued a mandatory recall for Zantac and ranitidine products, although there have been voluntary recalls issued by top Zantac and ranitidine drugmakers to mitigate the potential cancer risk posed by the use of their drugs.
Other Types Of Cancer Linked To Zantac Use
Stomach cancer is one of several types of cancer that may be caused by overexposure to the carcinogenic chemical, NDMA, found in Zantac products.
Other types of cancer that may be caused by NDMA found in Zantac include:
- bladder cancer
- esophageal cancer
- breast cancer
- kidney cancer
- liver cancer
- lung cancer
- cancer of the blood vessels
- cancer of the respiratory tract
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), having excessive amounts of NDMA in the body has been associated with a number of moderate to severe health problems, including reduced kidney function, enlarged or damaged liver, and jaundice.
Recent concerns about NDMA in Zantac have primarily focused on the link between NDMA and cancer. Over 600,000 deaths due to cancer occur in the U.S. each year, and the economic burden of treating cancer and living with the disease is significant.
How To Know If Zantac Caused Your Stomach Cancer
Zantac is a brand name for the generic drug, ranitidine. Not all ranitidine products are necessarily believed to be contaminated with dangerous amounts of NDMA, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
If you are concerned about your risk for developing stomach cancer after taking Zantac, or wish to know if Zantac caused your stomach cancer, your best course of action is to talk to your doctor or cancer treatment team. Your doctor can evaluate your risk, or probable causes of your stomach cancer through careful consideration of your medical history and Zantac use.
At this time, the FDA does not know how many people are likely to have been affected by the toxic amounts of NDMA in Zantac and ranitidine products. An investigation into the scope of the issue and the likelihood of developing cancer after taking Zantac is currently ongoing.
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What To Do If You Believe Zantac Caused Your Stomach Cancer
If you were diagnosed with cancer after taking Zantac regularly for a health problem, you are not alone. Several class action and individual lawsuits have been filed across the U.S. by individuals and loved ones who received a cancer diagnosis after taking Zantac or ranitidine products.
The basis for these lawsuits is generally one of negligence. Negligence is a legal theory in personal injury law that traces personal injury or wrongful death to the negligent behavior of an individual or entity—such as a business or pharmaceutical company.
In the context of recent Zantac lawsuits, the negligence of named defendants (Zantac drugmakers) refers to their failure to properly warn the government, healthcare providers, and the public of the amount of NDMA in their drugs, violating U.S. consumer protection laws.
The types of Zantac cancer lawsuits that have been filed include:
- product liability (defective drug) lawsuits
- personal injury lawsuits
- wrongful death lawsuits
Several plaintiffs who have taken legal action against Zantac drugmakers have not been diagnosed with cancer, but are nonetheless seeking compensation for the amount of money spent on Zantac through their regular use of the drugs.
If you’ve been diagnosed with stomach cancer after taking Zantac and experienced significant financial or emotional distress, an attorney will likely recommend filing an individual lawsuit to seek fair compensation for your losses.
You can determine your eligibility for filing an individual lawsuit by speaking to an experienced dangerous drug attorney.
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Learn If You Qualify To File A Zantac Lawsuit
At Florin|Roebig, our attorneys have been diligently following the recent updates on Zantac drug recalls and lawsuits being filed against the pharmaceutical companies responsible for producing and marketing these products.
By calling our office, we can schedule a free case evaluation to discuss the details of your case to see if you qualify to join others in suing Zantac drugmakers. Call us today to determine your eligibility for filing an individual or class action lawsuit against Zantac pharmaceutical companies.