The Heartburn Medication Zantac can Cause Liver and Lung Cancer

The Heartburn Medication Zantac can Cause Liver and Lung Cancer

Ranitidine, also known as Zantac, has been found to cause cancer. Many people who took it for their heartburn are finding out that they were endangering their lives. In September 2019, the FDA announced that it found N-nitrosodimethylamine(NDMA) in ranitidine. Later in the month, the drug companies Novartis and Apotex recalled their ranitidine based products. The FDA said in a statement that the levels of NDMA exceeded acceptable levels.

It is possible that when ranitidine is broken down, it forms NDMA, so when people are taking the medication, it can be turned into NDMA in the person’s body. Research from 2016 backs up this theory. Ten volunteers were given 150 milligrams of Zantac, which led to the volunteers having 47,000 nanograms of NDMA in their urine, which is a lot more than would normally be there. Most of it would have been metabolized before getting into the people’s urine, leading to the conclusion that the amount of the substance in the body was a lot higher. Another study in 2004 found that people taking Zantac or another antacid had a heightened risk of bladder cancer, but the study did not say which drug was being taken by which subjects.

Other studies involving NDMA have shown the increase of lung cancer as a result of exposure to it. After people unknowingly took the contaminated medication, they were monitored and found to be at a higher risk of developing colorectal and uterine cancers. Other cancers associated with NDMA include liver, kidney, stomach, pancreatic, lung, and nasal cancers which were found in animals given NDMA.

Ranitidine has been used for a long time, and unfortunately, the dangers of the drug have been hidden. In the 1980s when Zantac was being tested for safety, it was not tested for NDMA so the company had no idea that the carcinogen was in the product. It tested the stomach contents of people taking ranitidine, but it found that there was not a significant increase of nitrosamines. NDMA is a type of nitrosamine, so it was not found when studying the stomach contents. The study was flawed though because the test was designed for food products and was not made to test nitrosamines directly. The study also threw away any samples of ranitidine because the directors thought that falsely high nitrosamine levels would be present, so they were not able to see if NDMA was created in the body.

Another possibility of the NDMA contamination is heat causing the drug to break down in the packaging. If this is happening, the company has already tested for the substance and found nothing while NDMA is being formed in storage. It is the company’s responsibility to create and sell safe products, so it does not matter how NDMA got into the ranitidine-based products. Companies should have created better tests to ensure that their products are safe before selling them to the public.

If you took Zantac or another ranitidine-based product and now have lung, liver, or another cancer, you may be entitled to compensation. Call us today at 412-471-3980 or fill out our contact form to speak to us.  We want to get you the compensation you deserve.

Joshua Gagne, “Popular heartburn drug ranitidine recalled: What you need to know and do” Harvard Health Publishing (September 28, 2019). [Link]
Michelle Cortez, “Carcinogen in Heartburn Drug May Build in Storage, Lab Finds” Bloomberg (January 2, 2020). [Link]
Tanya Lewis, “What We Know about the Possible Carcinogen Found in Zantac” Scientific American (October 28, 2019). [Link]

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