Published on January 23, 2020
As the FDA and pharmaceutical companies worldwide continue to test the possible link between ranitidine and the generation of the carcinogen NDMA. N-Nitroso-dimethylamine is a nitrosamine impurity known as NDMA, and was found during lab tests performed by the Connecticut-based online pharmacy and testing company Valisure. Valisure reported these findings to the Food and Drug Administration in late September of 2019, leading to a series of investigations and ongoing press announcements by the FDA regarding the safety and continued use of Zantac and all generic medications sold with ranitidine.
So far, the FDA has not instituted a mandatory ban on the medication, instead keeping consumers updated on their findings while calling for a voluntary recall and halt of production for the medicines in question. There is an ongoing debate about the risk posed by taking these medications because of the amount of NDMA that is generated, which many outlets have reported is similar to the amount of NDMA found in certain foods.
If you take an acid reducer such as Zantac or anything else with ranitidine and are concerned about the findings of these tests, there are a variety of options available to you. Be sure that you consult a doctor before you discontinue or begin any medicine to ensure that you do not suffer from issues that could arise from bad reactions or interactions with other drugs that you may be on. Major retailers such as Walmart, Rite Aid, CVS, and Walgreens have offered refunds for any of their customers who have purchased these medicines through them, which can be a helpful way to pay for an alternative medication that does not contain ranitidine or have any cancer-causing properties.
Take a look below at a few different possible Zantac alternatives. If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of exposure to the harmful carcinogen NDMA while taking Zantac or ranitidine, contact Balkin & Mausner as soon as possible to be connected with an attorney who is ready to take your case. Our personal injury lawyers are proven, trustworthy attorneys who are here to help you get the money that you deserve.
Why Is Zantac Being Recalled?
As mentioned above, there is an ongoing voluntary recall of the popular acid reducer Zantac, as well as generic medicines sold under the name of ranitidine, because of a lab test that revealed the generation of NDMA after the medicine is consumed. There are ongoing disagreements about a variety of issues surrounding the validity of the findings, as well as the actual risk posed to consumers. Valisure initially tested the drug-using temperatures significantly higher than what would be found in the human body, which led to questions about whether or not the carcinogen was produced at lower temperatures. While Valisure has since found NDMA present at lower temperatures as well, the amount of the impurity present may not actually pose a threat.
However, some major drug manufacturers across the world, such as Sanofi, Glenmark Pharmaceutical, Inc., and Sandoz have discontinued production of the drugs, as have many US retailers taken the medication off of their shelves.
To make sure that you stay updated on all of the latest information and testing results found by the FDA and other independent labs, manufacturers, and pharmacies, keep checking on the FDA Updates and Press Announcements page regarding NDMA and ranitidine.
Alternatives to Zantac and Ranitidine
If you are concerned about the possible cancer threat associated with Zantac and ranitidine at the moment, then there are a variety of over the counter options available to help reduce acid in your stomach and avoid painful heartburn. If you have been prescribed Zantac by a doctor to treat or manage other issues, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), ulcers in the stomach and intestines, or conditions like Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, speak with your physician about the available options.
Some common antacids available over the counter include products such as Tums, Pepto-Bismal, Rolaids, and Alka-Seltzer. These antacids act as H2 inhibitors just like Zantac, but they do not contain ranitidine. However, if you are taking Zantac to treat a specific problem that goes beyond occasional stomach acid production, consult with your doctor about how to manage these problems.
Proto Pump Inhibitors
This group of medications is another highly-effective option for controlling stomach acid production and the associated problems with the acid. They act in a similar manner to traditional H2 blockers, and include brands such as Prevacid, Prilosec, and Nexium. These medications are also available under generic brands as lansoprazole, omeprazole, or esomeprazole. PPIs are found to be highly effective, but there are growing concerns about the side effects stemming from prolonged use, as well as possibly dangerous interactions with other drugs.
In addition to any of these suggested alternatives, there are a variety of lifestyle changes that are suggested as ways to help to reduce acid reflux without medication. Again, work with a doctor before making changes to your medication routine. Some suggestions include things like eating more frequent, smaller meals instead of 3 large meals a day, avoiding carbonated beverages, and quitting smoking.
Working With a Doctor To Find a Safe Alternative to Zantac
While the previously-mentioned alternatives to Zantac may be an effective solution to your problems, it is important that you work with your doctor in order to manage the transition from one medication to another. This is especially important if you have allergies or take other medications that could mix with your new acid-reducer to create a serious and dangerous interaction. Like any medical issue that you are working to solve or manage, a trusted medical professional is your most important resource.