Zantac and Cancer: the Plot Thickens

By on November 1st, 2019

Posted in Mass Torts

The potential issues with Zantac just became a little more complicated. Zantac is the brand name of a common heartburn medication called ranitidine. As we have reported, there have been multiple, and ongoing, recalls of ranitidine after testing of lots of the drug showed unacceptable levels of the probable human carcinogen N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).

Initially, it was thought that the ranitidine/NDMA connection was related to similar recalls of the popular blood pressure medications Valsartan, Losartan, and Irbesartan. However, based upon recent testing by a popular independent laboratory and resulting petition filed with the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), there are now claims that ranitidine, itself, causes high levels of NDMA exposure in patients. Essentially, the claims are that the unstable ranitidine molecule breaks down under certain conditions, including those in the human digestive tract, to create harmful levels of NDMA. Thus, significant NDMA exposure would result from taking brand name or generic ranitidine, regardless of where it was manufactured.

This type of NDMA exposure has been linked to various cancers, including:

  • Stomach
  • Small intestine
  • Colorectal
  • Esophageal
  • Liver
  • Bladder

And, in more limited circumstances:

  • Prostate
  • Pancreatic
  • Leukemia
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Kidney

So far, testing of alternatives to ranitidine, such as Pepcid, Tagamet, Nexium, Prevacid, and Prilosec, do not show the same NDMA exposure potentials.

As always, please feel free to contact Stark & Stark to speak with one of or attorneys, free of charge, who can help assess any defective drug or medical device claims that you may have.

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