When the Food and Drug Administration and the maker of Zantac announced its recall of the popular over-the-counter acid reducing medication, it was everywhere in the media around the country and here in Ohio. However, Zantac was not the first medication recalled. Back on Sept. 23, the Food and Drug Administration announced the recall of Ranitidine Hydrochloride Capsules made by Sandoz Inc. That recall occurred due to the presence of elevated levels of N-Nitrosodimethylamine, the very chemical involved in the recent ranitidine drug recalls.
This particular medication is prescribed for benign gastric ulcers, duodenal ulcers, postoperative peptic ulcers, reflux esophagitis and Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome, among other conditions in which acid output and gastric secretions are an issue for patients. At that time, the recall was limited to only around 14 lots of the company’s medications. That seems quite small considering what has happened since.
That recall focused on the return of affected lots from wholesalers and pharmacists to the company. The company and the FDA recommended that consumers not stop taking the medication until speaking with their doctors. The question that may be on some people’s minds is whether the issue would have died with this recall had it not been for the discovery of NDMA in Zantac since it is sold over the counter.
In any case, consumers are now aware that the danger from NDMA exists in medications they may have taken for years, if not decades. Those individuals turned to a ranitidine drug due to its effectiveness, not knowing that it could ultimately lead to one of many forms of cancer. Some people, including many here in Ohio, may have cancer and not realize its connection to this medication. Now that the word is out, they may want to investigate the possibility that NDMA is the cause of their illnesses.