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What is the connection between Zantac and breast cancer?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As we watch loved ones, sports figures, celebrities and musicians wear pink in a sign of support and solidarity we may also find ourselves looking back at our progress. While we look back, we may question the causes of breast cancer and how much we have progressed in reducing the risk we face of developing this disease.

One connection gaining media attention: the use of the popular acid-reducing and heartburn drug Zantac and an increased risk of breast cancer.

How does Zantac use increase the risk of breast cancer?

Concern over a possible connection between Zantac and similar medications began in 2019. At this time, researchers with a pharmacy that specializes in testing medications for purity found a contaminant in Zantac that is a known carcinogen. After further research, the group found that all medications that use the primary ingredient in Zantac, called ranitidine, had this same cancer-causing contaminant.

As such, use of the medication, used to treat heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease and ulcers, could increase the likelihood a patient would develop breast cancer. Those who are currently taking these medications are wise to reach out to their medical provider and discuss alternative options.

Are there remedies for those who develop this disease?

Those who have a history of taking Zantac or other ranitidine containing medications and develop breast cancer may have a case against the manufacturer. If you are considering such action, you are not alone. Similar cases against the drug manufacturer are moving forward. Others who are battling breast cancer and believe the disease was the result of regular use of Zantac point to the manufacturer’s prior knowledge to support their claim. In 2008, researchers found and published the connection. Yet massive drug companies, like Pfizer, decided to continue to market the medication.

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