According to the American College of Gastroenterology, as many as 60 million Americans deal with heartburn each month. So, it’s not surprising that there are plenty of drugs that claim to help relieve these symptoms. Unfortunately, one of those medications has been proven to be incredibly dangerous.
Zantac and its generic version, ranitidine, is a common prescription and over-the-counter drug used to treat the symptoms of heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Some patients who have taken Zantac or ranitidine have been diagnosed with cancer due to harmful levels of NDMA in the products.
Studies have linked the carcinogen NDMA to cancer in animals and humans. If you or someone you love took the prescription, generic, or over-the-counter versions of Zantac and have been diagnosed with cancer, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
Since 2000, the attorneys at Reeves & Mestayer, PLLC, have been fighting for the rights of injury victims throughout Mississippi. Our lawyers have vast experience in mass tort and product liability cases and will aggressively advocate for your interests. Contact us today for a free consultation.
What is Zantac?
Zantac is the brand name for a widely used and well-established prescription and over-the-counter antacid and antihistamine medication that is considered a histamine-2 blocker. The drug was first launched in 1981 and became the best-selling prescription drug worldwide in 1988 before becoming available over the counter. In 2016, there were over 14 million prescriptions for Zantac in the U.S.
The drug works by lowering the levels of acid created by the stomach, which helps address heartburn related to sour stomach and acid indigestion. The drug was sold in both prescription strength and over the counter by a variety of companies.
Dangerous Levels of NDMA
N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) is classified as a B2 carcinogen, which means that it is likely carcinogenic to humans. In addition to causing cancer, it is also a hepatotoxin, meaning it causes damage to the liver.
NDMA is used in rocket and aviation fuel, is found in industrial lubricants, and can form during the cooking of certain foods, such as cured fish and meats.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has investigated certain drugs for the presence of NDMA. These include angiotensin II receptor blockers for heart failure and blood pressure. They are now also looking at Zantac for the same issue.
In September 2019, the FDA reported the discovery of NDMA in Zantac, at levels that were between 3,000 and 26,000 times higher than FDA-approved standards. NDMA has been linked to numerous complications.
Short-term exposure to NDMA can cause liver damage. Long-term exposure can increase the risk of lung, kidney, liver, bladder, pancreatic, colon, and stomach cancer. Other symptoms of NDMA exposure include:
- Vitamin B-12 deficiency
- Hepatitis, liver failure, and jaundice
- Nervous system disorders
- Arrhythmia and tachycardia
- Skin rashes and hair loss
- Low platelet levels in the blood
- Increased risk of pneumonia
Zantac Medication Recalls
In 2019, drug maker Sanofi announced a voluntary recall of all over-the-counter Zantac products in the United States as a “precautionary measure.” By April 2020, the FDA requested that all drug manufacturers withdraw every form of ranitidine, both prescription and OTC, in the U.S. and Canada.
Currently, there isn’t enough information to determine how long NDMA has been present in Zantac medications. The FDA is also recommending that consumers stop taking any OTC ranitidine products and speak with their healthcare provider about alternatives for prescription medication. To date, no levels of NDMA have been found in other similar medications such as Pepcid, Tagamet, or Prevacid.
Zantac Injury Symptoms
The primary concern with NDMA is that it can cause liver disease and cancer, even with small exposures. The FDA also states that the older a ranitidine product is, the greater potential for high levels of NDMA in the drug.
Anyone who has taken Zantac or its generic equivalent has reason to be concerned. Besides the risk of certain types of cancer, overexposure to NDMA can cause vomiting, fever, and dizziness. Some of the common symptoms of this exposure include:
- Poor appetite and unintentional weight loss
- Back pain
- Dark urine
- Blood in the urine
- Nausea and vomiting
- Itchy skin
- New abdominal pain
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or any unusual symptoms, see your physician immediately. Let them know if you have a history of Zantac or ranitidine use. And be sure to consult an experienced product liability attorney about your rights.
Filing a Zantac Cancer Lawsuit
When a problem is found with a drug like Zantac, a product recall is one step, but this generally doesn’t help the people who have already been exposed to the product’s dangerous elements. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer or a liver condition after taking Zantac, you may be entitled to compensation.
A qualified drug injury attorney can help you pursue damages against the drug maker. Some of the potential damages you can claim include past and future medical expenses, wage losses, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and punitive damages where appropriate.
If you believe your condition was caused by ranitidine or Zantac, your product liability attorney can help you prove three things:
- That you used one of these recalled drugs;
- That you have a serious medical condition; and
- That the two are connected.
Drug injury lawsuits are incredibly complex and contentious. Billion-dollar drug companies and their insurance companies will be intent on protecting their financial interests, so you need someone in your corner that will protect yours. Reeves & Mestayer, PLLC, has recovered over $1 billion for its clients, and we will aggressively advocate for your rights.
Speak With an Experienced Drug Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer or another serious condition after taking Zantac, you may be entitled to compensation. At Reeves & Mestayer, PLLC, our team of personal injury attorneys is standing by to discuss your Zantac lawsuit. For a free confidential consultation, please call 1-855-558-2977 or contact us online. Our services are based on contingency fees, meaning we don’t charge you a dime unless we recover compensation on your behalf.