In a recent post to our blog, we revealed that Zantac was the latest addition to the list of drugs found to contain ingredients so dangerous that lawsuits against Zantac makers were being filed. Since that post, more information about this drug has been discovered, and action has been taken by the FDA. Read on for more information about this latest update.
Since its introduction in 1981, Zantac has been taken by millions of people and would eventually become the best-selling drug in history, thanks to a brilliant marketing strategy. Unfortunately, that strategy didn’t include caring about how Zantac’s life-threatening ingredient, ranitidine, would affect the health of those who took it to relieve heartburn, GERD, and excessive acid production.
Scientists discovered that inside its ranitidine formulation, Zantac contained a well-known carcinogen and serious environmental contaminant called NDMA. If Zantac was chemically stable, the existence of NDMA in the drug wouldn’t be as worrisome, as it would be eliminated from the body.
Unfortunately, Zantac is chemically unstable. This means that (1) the drug’s molecules will continue producing harmful NDMA after it’s taken, and (2) the amount of NDMA will continue to build in the body.
Using testing the FDA itself approved, it was found that there were a few thousand times more than the safe limit of NDMA in Zantac. As a result, a class action Zantac lawsuit was filed against its drug maker, and an announcement soon followed that multi-district litigation would be the way that lawsuits would be handled in Florida Southern District courts.
What’s Happening Now
As of April 1, 2020, the FDA required manufacturers withdraw all Zantac products, whether prescription or over-the-counter (OTC), from the market immediately.
What changed? Testing. According to the FDA, there has been new testing done on the drug.
They have revealed that the level of NDMA in Zantac increases even when stored properly. If that wasn’t concerning enough, their testing found significant increases in NDMA when Zantac was stored at higher temperatures, causing what the FDA calls “unacceptable levels of the impurity.”
Let’s be clear on this: NDMA is far more than an impurity; it is a cancer-causing ingredient that should never have been used in the first place, especially considering that Sanofi-Aventis, the company at the center of Zantac cancer lawsuits, has billions of dollars at its disposal and state-of-the-art laboratories to test these formulations before they ever even hit the market.
Oh, and did we mention that testing also revealed that NDMA levels also increase if Zantac just sits on your shelf at home? That’s right—the older it is – the higher the risk that you could develop cancer. So people who may have purchased it for future use run a higher risk of cancer.
Zantac Has Caused Cancer in People Who Just Wanted to Relieve Their Heartburn
Read that headline again. Over the 39 years that this chemically unstable drug has been available for purchase, it has resulted in cancers of the prostate, bladder, rectum and ovaries, to name a few. These may only seem like insignificant numbers, until you realize that these individuals are mothers, fathers, spouses, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, or friends.
And the FDA knew that this drug was dangerous in September of 2019 when Valisure, a pharmaceutical company, alerted them to high levels of NDMA in Zantac products. Not only did the FDA accuse Valisure of improper testing, but they didn’t issue a recall of Zantac. Thankfully, several drug makers, and then pharmaceutical retailers, did.
What to Do If You Have Zantac in Your Medicine Cabinet
The April 1st announcement advised that anyone who is currently taking OTC Zantac or other liquid or tablet products containing ranitidine to stop taking it immediately.
If you are using Zantac that was prescribed to you, it’s important to contact your doctor before you stop taking it and ask them what other medications may be best for your particular situation. There are several alternatives that don’t contain NDMA, including Prevacid, Tagamet, and Prilosec.
Any Zantac that’s currently in your home needs to be properly and safely disposed of. However, the FDA is not advising you to take any discarded medication to take-back locations at this time; rather, they are asking consumers to consult the disposal instructions located in the package insert. You can also go to the FDA website for the proper disposal steps.
Other Ways to Alleviate Heartburn
Due to the current circumstances, it may not be possible to obtain a prescription for heartburn medication, or even travel to a pharmacy to get OTC relief for heartburn. That being said, here are some things to try.
There are lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce the frequency of heartburn. Reducing consumption or avoiding food and beverages that cause heartburn can be effective. Some of these include spicy food, coffee, fried foods, and carbonated drinks.
Changing the size of your meals can also help reduce heartburn. Ensure that you give your body about two hours to digest a meal before lying down and wear comfortable clothing so that your stomach and digestive tract are unrestricted.
Relieving Heartburn Shouldn’t Come With Health Risks
Unfortunately, Zantac isn’t the first pharmaceutical drug to be contaminated with this carcinogen, nor is it the first to be recalled. And although we wish things were different, it’s likely that these recalls won’t end anytime soon.
Why does this continue to happen? Why do people who are only looking for symptom relief have to also sign up for possible serious health consequences without their permission? Are the drug makers so concerned about making money that they’ve skimped on basic concern for human welfare as well as safety monitoring? We may never get the answers.
But there is something we can do. We can act. We can tell these drug companies that it’s not okay to put patient’s lives at risk in favor of making money. We can hold those who are supposed to care for our wellbeing accountable for their actions and get them to do better.
Getting Help If You or a Loved One Became Sick Because of Zantac
If you or someone you love is now sick because they took Zantac, you are going to need compensation for doctor’s visits and treatment. You deserve some peace of mind that you’ll still be able to pay your bills and meet your other financial obligations. You need to know that someone hears you and knows exactly what needs to be done to get you results.
Drug makers and federal agencies may not care about your welfare, but we do. We are Saunders & Walker P.A., and we possess decades of experience in court with greedy drug makers. We know our enemy well and know all the tactics they use to slither through every legal loophole, so they don’t have to pay for what they’ve done to the consumers who trusted them.
We will fight for every single penny to get you the maximum possible compensation for the inexcusable actions of Zantac drug makers. Simply claim your free case evaluation to see if you are eligible for compensation under the Zantac class action lawsuit.