Over the past few months, you may have noticed several news pieces mentioning recalls of some of the popular heartburn medication ranitidine, also known as Zantac. The culprit in these recalls is a concern of low levels of NDMA, a probable human carcinogen. Nationwide pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS, Walmart and Rite Aid have all pulled Zantac and ranitidine products from their shelves, and Sanofi (the manufacturer of Zantac) issued a voluntary recall of its products across the U.S. and Canada.
In early September 2019, Valisure, a pharmaceutical testing company, notified the FDA they had found unacceptable levels of NDMA in samples of Zantac. The FDA then notified the public about NDMA and Zantac in September 2019, stating they would be opening an investigation into the matter. A few weeks later, they announced a voluntary recall of ranitidine capsules from Sandoz after testing positive for NDMA contamination. Next, they expanded the voluntary recall to pharmacies, and Sanofi issued their own recall.
What is NDMA?
The potential human carcinogen in ranitidine is N-nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA. This chemical is a by-product of both industrial and natural processes. NDMA can be found in various levels in water, soil, some cosmetics and food products, and many other substances around us. In low levels, NDMA shouldn’t present any risk to human health. However, at high levels or when consumed over a long period, NDMA can have cancer-causing effects.
This is not the first time the FDA has investigated NDMA and its associated risks. In 2018, the blood pressure medication Valsartan was recalled for NDMA contamination as well. According to ABC News, the side effects from overexposure to NDMA can include:
- Abdominal cramps
NDMA is also a potent hepatoxin, which means that long-term exposure can increase the risk of liver, kidney and lung tumors and cancers.
I used Zantac. What should I do now?
The FDA continues to investigate ranitidine and any information regarding impurities and contamination, and keeps the public informed via press releases and updates. If you or a family member have been using Zantac regularly for your condition, you should consider speaking to your doctor about your options, like taking an alternate medication in an alternate drug class.
However, because of the risks mentioned above, it’s crucial your doctor also give you a thorough examination if you’re a regular user of Zantac or any over-the-counter ranitidine product. If you or a loved one have taken any recalled or dangerous drugs and suffered injury or illness, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses.
At McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC, we’re not afraid to take on the big pharmaceutical companies when they put profit over people. If you’ve experienced injury or illness after taking defective or dangerous drugs, we can help you seek financial compensation. Call us at 803-327-7800 or reach out to us through our contact page. We maintain offices throughout South Carolina.