You may have experienced heartburn at some point. Whether it is a chronic condition or a temporary inconvenience, you likely try to treat your symptoms with medication. Unfortunately, not all medicines are safe.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the quality of prescription and over-the-counter medications, and they have approved various products for heartburn. However, the FDA recently recalled Zantac, or ranitidine, from the market due to its instability and cancer-causing potential.
Instability of contaminant in heartburn medication
Laboratory testing made the FDA aware of the presence of N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in Zantac last summer. While research showed this heartburn medication contained minimal amounts of the probable carcinogen, the drug remained available for sale until this April.
It may be impossible to avoid ingesting small quantities of NDMA through food or water. Yet, you likely strive to limit exposure where you can.
Time might cause the level of this impurity to increase in Zantac. Your cancer risk could also rise due to the medication’s possible exposure to high temperatures along the distribution chain or during consumer handling.
To avoid potential cancer risk, the FDA’s recommendations include:
- Complete market withdrawal
- Discontinued use of Zantac
- Proper home disposal of ranitidine
Other approved heartburn medications may provide the same or similar relief as Zantac. Your health care provider can advise you about the use of products with no known contamination of NDMA, such as Nexium, Pepcid or Prilosec.
In addition to conversations with your physician, you may want to explore your legal options. If you receive a cancer diagnosis after the use of Zantac, you may be able to recover financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages or suffering.