Published on January 23, 2020
If you have taken Zantac, or the generic version of the acid-reducing drug, known as ranitidine, then you may have recently heard of a series of voluntary recalls of the drug because of a concerning report about the presence of a contaminant called N-Nitroso-dimethylamine, more commonly referred to as NDMA. NDMA is listed as a “probable human carcinogen,” meaning that it likely causes cancer when an individual is exposed to this nitrosamine impurity and should be ingested with caution. However, the FDA has not taken the step to institute a mandatory recall, since the levels of NDMA present in any of the medications in question have been found to be the equivalent of the level found in things such as smoked meats and other common foods. Regardless, a variety of pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors have decided to cease production and sales as the FDA and a variety of independent labs continue to determine the associated risks with these drugs and the contaminant in question.
If you decide that you would like to discontinue your use of Zantac or other ranitidine-based stomach acid medicines, luckily many suppliers in the United States, including major retailers like CVS, Walmart, Rite Aid, and Walgreens, have issued voluntary recalls for the medication and has offered a refund for anyone who wishes to get their money back for some of the medication. If you wish to get compensated for the medication but purchased it from somewhere who is not offering a refund, contact the team at Balkin & Mausner today to talk with an attorney who can help you understand your rights as a consumer, and the choices that you have for joining a class-action lawsuit or seeking your own actions against any number of parties if you have suffered injury because of your use of this drug.
Read more below to learn about some of the side effects that Zantac is known to cause, as well as some additional information about the concerns of Zantac causing cancer. There is an abundance of information available on the internet that gets into significant detail about lab test results, human tolerance levels for NDMA, and a variety of other specific information about the current concerns. We suggest starting with the FDA website and their ongoing series of updates and press announcements regarding their findings.
Does Zantac Cause Cancer?
One of the major concerns of many people around the United States recently is about the possibility that the popular over the counter acid-reducing drug Zantac, as well as a variety of generic versions of the drug sold under the name ranitidine, may contain a carcinogen connected to a variety of different cancers such as stomach and bladder cancer. While it is true that a Connecticut-based online pharmacy Valisure delivered a report to the FDA regarding the generation of NDMA in the human body while processing this medication.
However, as mentioned above there has been no formal or mandatory recall enacted, due to a variety of issues such as skepticism around the danger of such low doses of the contaminant, as well as concerns about the testing methods used in order to produce these results. Currently, the prevailing wisdom is that ongoing exposure to high levels of NDMA is associated with an increased risk of a variety of gastric and bladder cancers, among others.
While final determinations about the cancer risks associated with Zantac are being researched, we have listed a variety of other known and confirmed side effects that Zantac and ranitidine are known to cause in a variety of patients.
Common Side Effects of Zantac or Ranitidine
Keep in mind that the following side effects are a limited collection of all possible issues that someone may experience when taking these heartburn medications. It is equally important to note that drug manufacturers are compelled to list all possible side effects of the drug, regardless of how common or rare they may be, in order to address as many use cases as possible. Your experience with Zantac may be completely free of side effects, or you may have experienced each of the following and more during your time taking the medicine; ultimately, your interactions with the drug are entirely determined by your own specific physical ability to handle the medication.
H2 acid blockers like Zantac and ranitidine, as well as other medicines known as proton pump inhibitors—including popular drugs such as Prilosec, Protonix, and Nexium—come with a risk of diarrhea because of the way that the drugs interact with the stomach. The primary function of these drugs is to reduce the amount of gastric acid produced in the stomach, and this reduction of stomach acid may result in diarrhea. Oftentimes, this symptom will subside within 24-48 hours.
For the same reasons that H2 acid blockers may cause diarrhea, other people may have the exact opposite reaction when their gastric acid production is restricted by these medications and instead experience constipation. There are a variety of factors that could attribute to whether or not someone suffers from diarrhea, constipation, both at different times, or never experience either of these side effects during their time taking the medication.
If you are experiencing constipation as a result of the H2 blockers you are taking, consult with your doctor about possible solutions, such as supplemental fiber, increased water intake, probiotics, and a variety of other options.
Another side effect of Zantac and ranitidine, as well as other H2 acid reducers, is dizziness. There are many different reasons that someone could experience dizziness while taking this drug, but it is important to note that only a small percentage of people report this as an issue while they are taking this heartburn medicine.
If you experience any dizziness while taking a medication, it is important that you speak with your doctor immediately. This could be the sign of a possible adverse drug interaction because of other medications that you are taking, physical problems that could put you at a greater risk while on an H2 acid reducer, or many other additional issues that are important to address.
Sleep issues such as insomnia are another rare side effect of drugs like Zantac and ranitidine, as well as other similar medications such as some antihistamines like cimetidine and famotidine. If you are experiencing issues related to your sleep after beginning a regimen of an H2 blocker, contact your doctor as soon as possible in order to identify any possible causes of these issues, as well as to learn more about solutions that are safe for you to take. The solutions depend on many different things, such as the other medications that you are taking, as well as your medical history, allergies, and more.
Headaches are unfortunately a fairly common side effect of taking Zantac or ranitidine, but as with most side effects, the first step that you should take is speaking with your doctor in order to get a comprehensive understanding of why you are dealing with this pain, and if there are any obvious solutions that you should pursue. Mixing one medication with another is not recommended without consulting your personal doctor so that they can ensure you will not experience any adverse reactions from mixing medicines and having a bad interaction.
Additional Side Effects of Zantac and Ranitidine
In addition to the possible side effects listed above, there are other impacts that the drug may have on some people in some cases. Keep in mind that, again, drug manufacturers are compelled to list all possible side effects of the drug that they witnessed during clinical trials, whether or not the likelihood of the side effect is exceedingly rare, or occurs nearly 100% of the time.
Other side effects that are associated with Zantac and ranitidine include the following:
- Trouble achieving orgasm
- Muscle pain
- Stomach pain
If you experience any of these side effects, or any side effects at all while taking Zantac, contact your doctor as soon as possible to determine possible solutions to these issues.
These side effects are common with many medications that Americans take today, but the biggest concern right now is whether or not Zantac can cause cancer or other long-term side effects. Ultimately, the research is still out on the certainty of whether or not Zantac users are at an increased risk of certain cancers, which is why the FDA has not yet instituted a mandatory recall.
Contact Balkin & Mausner To Talk To A Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer that you believe may be associated with taking Zantac or ranitidine, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible to understand your rights as a consumer and a patient. Balkin & Mausner has proven personal injury lawyers who will be happy to get started on your case today.
There are a series of class-action lawsuits across the United States that are being filed in regards to the cancer concerns around Zantac and ranitidine, and there are many other options for you as an individual that you can explore with the help of a lawyer. Contact us now to get started.