Widespread Zantac Recall Leads To Numerous Lawsuits

imgThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that some acid-reducing and heartburn medications contain a cancer-causing impurity. The medication is known as Ranitidine and is sold over the counter and by prescription as Zantac and Tritec. According to the FDA, Zantac contains 26,000 times more of that impurity than the FDA allows.

What Is The Cancer-Causing Ingredient In Zantac?

The probable human carcinogen in Zantac is N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). NDMA leaches into the soil, contaminating the water. This chemical was originally developed to aid in the production of rocket fuel. Usage stopped after high levels of it were found in the air, water and soil samples near manufacturing plants. It has since been found at several industrial sites. It enters the body when someone eats food or drink water contaminated with NDMA.

Should I Stop Taking Zantac? Yes!

At first health officials did not recommend that you stop taking your medication even if you've been taking Zantac for years. However, an FDA recall notice dated Dec. 17, 2019, recommended that everyone stop taking these medications immediately.

When a drug is found to have a possible link to cancer, it is best to learn about alternative drugs to take. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist right away and learn about options that are available in prescription and over-the-counter form.

What Are The Symptoms of NDMA Overexposure?

NDMA is a chemical found in natural and industrial processes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies it as a "possible human carcinogen" because it can alter your DNA. Testing in animals indicates it causes cancer, but the evidence regarding an increase in cancer in humans is not consistent. Even so, its presence in over-the-counter and prescription medications in concentrations above those allowed by law is driving the current ranitidine recalls.

People who take, or took, ranitidine-containing products such as Zantac once in a while may not have anything to worry about. However, those who took it regularly may want to monitor themselves for symptoms of overexposure to NDMA. Those symptoms include fever, nausea, vomiting, jaundice, dizziness and abdominal cramps. Any ranitidine takers who experience these symptoms may want to consult with their physicians.

Anyone exhibiting these symptoms or who recently received a cancer diagnosis after taking ranitidine regularly should consult an experienced Zantac recall lawyer. Taking on a pharmaceutical company is challenging, but possible with a product liability claim.

Help For People Who Unknowingly Take Dangerous Drugs

When you take a medication, you depend on the pharmaceutical company (and others) to ensure it is safe. Our Cleveland trial attorneys hold drug manufacturers responsible when injuries occur. If you have been taking Zantac, or another variation of Ranitidine, call the experienced trial lawyers at Kelley & Ferraro, LLP, to learn about your options.

The dangerous ingredient in Ranitidine-containing medications have been linked to a variety of cancers, including:

  • Bladder
  • Colorectal
  • Esophageal
  • Intestinal
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Ovarian
  • Pancreatic
  • Stomach
  • Testicular
  • Uterine

There are claims that other types of cancer may also be linked to Zantac.

What Prompts A Drug Recall?

Drug recalls happen often for a variety of reasons. The information below may provide some insight into the process.

The oversight of medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration does not stop once they are released into the market. Drug safety remains a priority, so continuous monitoring is required at all levels from the FDA down to pharmacists and doctors. Companies may voluntarily recall a product if random testing reveals an issue that could jeopardize patient safety. These can include:

  • A previously unknown drug interaction is discovered
  • An error during the manufacturing process is made
  • Other health risks come to light

When a new issue arises, a medication may need to be taken off the market, at least temporarily, until further investigation is conducted. This is what prompted the Zantac/ranitidine recall.

Some medications may never return to the market because they pose too significant a risk. After a drug is initially approved, the FDA and others continue their investigations. This testing continues after a drug enters the market to make sure it does not present any harm to patients. Of course, nearly every drug has some sort of side effects, but the problems that lead to recalls and litigation tend to go well beyond the known side effects.

How Long Is A Drug Manufacturer Responsible For My Illness?

While some products containing ranitidine may still be available, many companies are removing their ranitidine medication from the market to avoid product liability claims. This does not mean they are no longer responsible for the harm they have caused.

Also, once a drug receives approval from the FDA, that does not protect the drug manufacturer from litigation. They cannot hide behind FDA approval or years' worth of supposedly satisfactory testing results. It could take decades before the potential for harm is adequately identified despite numerous studies and testing.

What If I Still Want To Take Zantac?

In some cases, a medication's value outweighs the potential for harm. If you take Zantac to handle your heartburn, you may need to find another way to find relief in the aftermath of the ranitidine recall.

More and more companies who manufacture, distribute and sell ranitidine products are recalling them due to the presence of a cancer-causing ingredient. Some say it is still safe to use these heartburn-relieving products, but many are not willing to take the chance.

Don't Second-Guess What May Work Best For You

Occasional heartburn issues could be relieved with other products. But, if you are a chronic heartburn suffers, Consult your health care professional to find out what you can take now.

How Do Ranitidine Medications Work?

The recall of Zantac and its generic forms has raised serious questions for people across the country regarding how a dangerous human carcinogen like NDMA could end up in them. But, that is not the only question being asked. The Food and Drug Administration also wants to know how the body converts the ranitidine medications into this human carcinogen. Could the answer lie in how the medications work?

Medications containing ranitidine such as Zantac are H2 receptor blockers. These medications prevent the production of acid in the stomach by seeking out acid releasing receptors on the stomach's surface. This chemical reaction can reduce the production of stomach acid by around 70% over the course of a 24-hour period. Could this provide a clue as to why these medications in particular have become so dangerous?

For now, ranitidine is receiving all of the media coverage, but the FDA has also issued warnings regarding another H2 receptor blocker called nizatidine, which is marketed as Axid. As the investigation into medications that could contain NDMA continues, more over-the-counter drugs for acid reflux could end up on the recall list. There are two other generic H2 receptor blockers, famotidine, marketed as Pepcid and Pepcid AC, and cimetidine, marketed as Tagamet and Tagamet HB. No recall has been issued for those at this point.

For now, the focus remains on ranitidine-containing medications. As more people come forward wondering whether there is a connection between this medication and their cancer diagnoses, the companies who manufacture these medications come under increased scrutiny.

Are You Sick? Did You Take Zantac? We Can Help You.

Manufacturers of Zantac and other ranitidine-containing medications will undoubtedly face numerous lawsuits in the future. Pharmaceutical litigation is a complex process, usually requiring the assistance of an experienced litigation attorney.

If you are taking a heartburn or anti-acid medication containing Ranitidine, and you have cancer, you may be entitled to receive compensation from those who are responsible. Contact our offices as soon as possible to learn about your legal options.

We are experienced product liability attorneys, and we have helped clients in Ohio and throughout the country recover monetary damages for their suffering and injuries. Call us at 216-202-3450 or 800-398-1795 toll-free. You may also contact us online.