Everything You Should Know about Zantac
Zantac is a popular heartburn drug that has recently come under fire. The reason for this is because Zantac has been found to contain NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine), a known human carcinogen.
Zantac contains this carcinogen at levels that are far higher than the limits set by the FDA. After the announcement of this discovery, people started to come forward with stories about how they developed cancer after taking Zantac.
If you’ve developed cancer after taking Zantac, you need to know your rights, what compensation you’re eligible to receive, and how to get into contact with a Zantac lawyer.
No pharmaceutical company has the right to mislead its consumers on what its products contain. If they do, you are entitled to compensation for any health issues they’ve caused.
What Is Zantac?
Zantac is an antacid and acid reflux treatment drug by the generic name is ranitidine.
What is ranitidine?
It’s a histamine-2 blocker that reduces the amount of acid in your stomach, thus giving relief to those with heartburn, ulcers, or other acid-related diseases. Zantac and ranitidine have been popular since the 1980s, so this recent controversy comes as a surprise to many.
Until the discovery of high levels of NDMA in Zantac, it was considered to be mostly harmless.
In fact, it is still available over-the-counter in many stores, though it is also available via prescription. However, some stores, such as Walmart, Walgreens, and Rite Aid, have since pulled Zantac and its generics from their shelves in light of recent news.
The discovery of NDMA in Zantac and its cancer-linked properties has cast doubt on the safety of this medication. Some people are even campaigning to have the drug recalled, at least until this issue gets fixed, and the NDMA levels return to normal.
In the meantime, if you find that you’ve experienced any signs or symptoms of cancer after having taken Zantac, you should get into contact with a Zantac lawyer or attorney immediately.
Zantac Health Effects
Zantac’s official side effects and health warnings are relatively minimal.
The most common side effect of the Zantac pill is a headache, which can sometimes be severe. For IV and IM Zantac, injection pain or burning is common.
However, Zantac has several other, slightly less common side effects, too, some of which include:
- Nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain
Doctors warn that any person experiencing severe side effects from taking Zantac should stop immediately and call a doctor.
Some of these severe side effects include:
- Easy bruising and bleeding
- Skin and hair problems
- Fast or slow heartbeats
- Stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
- Dark urine
The label also warns people with kidney disease, liver disease, or porphyria to consult with a doctor before taking this medicine. While the above effects of Zantac are well documented and understood, the discovery of high levels of NDMA in Zantac threw a bit of a wrench into this previously-mild list of side effects.
What are the long term side effects of Zantac?
Aside from the minor side effects we listed above, cancer is the most concerning long-term side effect.
The other side effects of Zantac use are relatively routine and tolerable to most people. However, if you experience any of the severe side effects, you should speak to your doctor about your other options immediately.
Can you take Zantac long term?
There’s nothing to say that you cannot take Zantac long-term if you and your doctor decide that it’s the best option for you. But, it’s important to note that the longer you take Zantac, the higher your risk of developing cancer becomes.
Is it safe to take Zantac every day?
Zantac was thought to be safe for everyday use before its cancer-causing properties came to light. Because of these discoveries, most medical professionals would now most likely recommend against it.
If you must take Zantac at all, use it for as little time as possible before discontinuing the use of the drug.
It’s important to remember that the levels of NDMA contamination in Zantac pills are still widely unknown. The samples that were tested by Valisure, the laboratory that first caught on to the NDMA in Zantac, were found to contain almost 3,000 times the legally allowable limit of NDMA.
However, it’s still unknown whether this was a semi-isolated incident or whether all Zantac pills suffer from this problem.
If the makers of Zantac have been hiding this fact since its inception, that’s a long time for these levels of NDMA to go undetected, as Zantac first came on the market in the 1980s. Zantac has also changed hands between various pharmaceutical companies since its creation, so concealing the presence of the carcinogen would require collaboration between these companies.
The implications of such a heist being carried out are very concerning.
However, without further testing, there’s no way to know whether the issues with Zantac are isolated manufacturing defects or whether they’ve been poisoning people since the medicine’s creation.
The Zantac Lawsuit
Most of the recent Zantac lawsuits involve settling with Zantac because of a potential link with cancer. Hundreds of users have now reported symptoms of this disease after taking Zantac. Law firms across the US are reviewing cases with any type of cancer after taking Zantac.
Unfortunately, this high cancer risk was never made known to consumers.
This is because the extremely high levels of the carcinogen are only detectable once the medicine reaches the stomach and starts to dissolve. While it’s unclear whether the company currently holding the rights to Zantac, Sanofi-Aventis, knew about the presence of NDMA and attempted to conceal it or was genuinely unaware, the discovery puts them in hot water.
Regulatory agencies have recommended that consumers either stop using Zantac entirely or at least talk it over with their doctor before continuing.
However, the FDA has not made any such announcements about avoiding Zantac, which is exceedingly strange. Regardless of the FDA’s involvement, any individual taking the drug may want to look for an alternative medication.
Most of the settlements state that the makers of Zantac knowingly hid the dangerous, cancerous nature of the medicine from consumers.
As such, users who experienced cancerous side effects should be entitled to compensation.
What Is NDMA?
NDMA, as we said earlier, is a molecule that has been classified as a “probable human carcinogen” by several world organizations, including the FDA, the World Health Organization, and others.
However, it’s important to note that NDMA is present in many of the foods and drinks we consume every day. While NDMA is likely carcinogenic, the caveat is that it’s only expected to be harmful at prolonged, high doses.
Furthermore, studies of NDMA in humans are minimal.
The conclusion of NDMA as a probable human carcinogen was based on animal testing, to begin with. As such, it’s understandable that the FDA might be reluctant to move forward with recalling the drugs.
However, it’s also important to note that several varieties of heart medication were also recalled by the FDA recently because of the presence of NDMA.
Besides its cancer-causing properties, NDMA has several other unpleasant side effects that can manifest at high doses, as well.
Some of these side effects include:
- Liver damage
- Reduced kidney, liver, and lung function
As such, the correlation between Zantac and NDMA-related cancer is technically debatable, and this is the defense that manufacturers will likely use during settlements.
However, with the right settlement lawyer and close guidance, you can get the help you’re looking for.
The Zantac Kidney Disease Lawsuit: Does It Exist?
Some medications in the heartburn-relief family, such as Prevacid, Prilosec, and, Nexium have been linked to kidney disease before. These drugs have also long been considered effective acid reducers.
But, recent research has started to show that these “protein pump inhibitors” may cause more problems than what scientists initially thought.
However, because Zantac is not a protein pump inhibitor there is no evidence that it causes kidney disease. Ranitidine and kidney disease also have no link to speak of (that we have yet found).
While the creators of Zantac warn that those with kidney disease should not take Zantac, the medication should not have the ability to make kidney disease worse or cause Zantac kidney disease, and a Zantac kidney disease lawsuit is unlikely to be upheld because of this.
Kidney cancer, on the other hand, is a distinct possibility.
Is Zantac Linked to Dementia?
Unlike kidney disease, both PPIs and histamine-2 blockers are linked to dementia, though many conflicting reports of this relationship exist.
Whether these links are correlational or causational is also still not clear. More clinical trials are required to determine any clear statistics.
However, it may be useful for people with specific characteristics or who are at risk for developing dementia to steer clear of both histamine-2 blockers and PPIs, if at all possible.
The people who are most at risk seem to be:
- Women over the age of 75
- People who have been taking Zantac or a PPI for nine or more years
- People who regularly take medications
So, does Zantac cause dementia?
While we don’t have much in the way of conclusive proof, trends seem to suggest that Zantac and dementia are linked somehow. It’s best to steer clear of the drug if you believe you or a loved one are at risk.
Is Zantac Bad for You?
Before the carcinogenic properties of Zantac came to light, it was considered to be mostly harmless.
However, the recent discovery about its cancer-causing properties has thrown this consideration into question. As such, it’s hard to definitively say whether Zantac is bad for you or not, especially if you’re using it to cure stomach ulcers.
One distinction to make would be that it depends on the duration that you take Zantac for. The longer you ingest these carcinogens, the higher your risk of developing cancer. While most consumers will prefer to avoid Zantac entirely because of its carcinogenic properties, short-term use may be worthwhile for consumers in specific situations that can benefit from Zantac.
So, is Zantac bad for you?
For the average person and over a long period of time, Zantac is, indeed, detrimental to your health.
However, in the short term, it most likely will not cause you any harm. Do keep in mind that Zantac can also increase your risk of developing pneumonia.
If you’re worried about the effects of Zantac or ranitidine on your body, don’t forget that there are many different acid-relieving alternatives out there. PPIs are one option, even though we’ve already touched on some of the negative risk factors of these medications.
Simple antacids, like calcium carbonate, are another safe, if less effective, option to consider.
The FDA’s Statement on Zantac
So far, the FDA has not mandated any recalls on Zantac or its generic counterparts.
However, several manufacturers of the drug, notably Novartis and Apotex, have recalled their products from stores. Both Canada and France have implemented steps toward recalling all forms of ranitidine from stores.
In the USA, however, Zantac and several types of generic ranitidine remain in stores.
Some stores have voluntarily decided to pull the drug from their shelves. This is because the pharmacists that work at these facilities don’t want to be responsible for customers causing themselves harm with the drug.
Big box stores with pharmacies are especially vulnerable in the case of Zantac because it’s available over-the-counter. In theory, if a customer wanted to purchase large amounts of the medicine, inflict harm on themselves, and try to land a successful lawsuit against the makers of Zantac, it would be within their power to try (though very unwise and unlikely to be successful).
There’s another risk behind the decision for these companies to take these products off their shelves. When Zantac was found positive for large amounts of NDMA, the test resulted in worryingly high levels of the carcinogen.
But, there’s no guarantee that that level will stay the same in the coming weeks.
Theoretically, the high numbers just could have been a bad batch. But, that means that a future quantity could have even higher levels of NDMA, resulting in worse injuries to consumers. Many suppliers choose to err on the side of caution just in case this is what’s going on.
However, in the same way, the level of NDMA in future shipments could regulate back to normal on its own. If that’s the case, it would be narrowed down to a temporary manufacturing issue, not a persistent problem.
Unfortunately, until more testing happens, we have no way of knowing which scenario, if either, is happening.
The FDA’s stance on the matter (via its website) seems to be that the levels of NDMA found in Zantac are “barely higher than what you would see in common everyday foods.”
As such, they don’t see the need to recall Zantac or ranitidine at this time. However, they do recommend that anyone who feels uncomfortable with this news talk to their doctor about changing medications.
More recently, it seems that the FDA is changing its tune on the matter.
In a recent announcement, the FDA said that different testing methods revealed differing levels of NDMA in Zantac and ranitidine samples in addition to their most recent tests resulting in “unacceptable levels” of NDMA.
The research continues.
The decision of stores and governing bodies to recall Zantac and its generics is a big one. This is because, at one point, Zantac was one of the best-selling drugs in the world. Zantac is still one of the first medications people reach for to relieve heartburn and related conditions, and some people have been taking it religiously for years to alleviate their symptoms.
While we understand why the FDA has not yet issued a forced recall, as this would require Zantac users to scramble for new medication options, it seems like things may be heading in that direction soon, especially with the FDA’s latest announcement.
If you believe your health has been negatively affected by Zantac or ranitidine, the FDA asks that you report your symptoms to their MedWatch program to help them to understand what’s going on better.
Contacting a Zantac Lawyer
A Zantac lawyer will be in a unique position to assist you through your Zantac lawsuit and get you the restitution you need.
Now is the time to file a Zantac lawsuit, as your chances of success will fall the longer you wait!
Our expert Zantac lawyers have the expertise you need to see your case through to success. Whether it’s for a personal injury complaint, injustice from the pharmaceutical industry, or other issues, we’re standing by to help.
The team at Hutchison & Stoy will help you determine whether you have a defensible lawsuit, what repayment you can expect from a successful suit, and what your essential next steps should be.