Recalled drugs including ranitidine pictured with medical tools

What You Need to Know About the Current Zantac Recall

If you or a loved one have been taking Zantac or generic/store brand versions of the popular over-the-counter (OTC) heartburn remedy ranitidine, you may have noticed earlier in 2019 that the product disappeared from stores. This is because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) instituted—and more recently expanded—a sweeping Zantac recall, as well as voluntary recalls of many ranitidine products.

The majority of these drugs’ makers, as well as the major retail pharmacies, removed the products from the marketplace as a result of the Zantac recall. They remain widely unavailable, both in prescription and OTC formulations pending completion of the FDA’s investigations.

If you rely on ranitidine to manage heartburn or acid reflux, your doctor or pharmacist probably directed you to a substitution H2 blocker-class medicine like famotidine (Pepcid) or cimetidine (Tagamet), and perhaps you followed these professionals’ advice and went on with life without much thought about why your preferred heartburn remedy was unavailable.

Unfortunately, there is much more to this story that you need to know. Especially if you’ve also experienced liver problems, or you’ve been diagnosed with certain cancers.

Conflicting reports from different sources say that ranitidine is both perfectly safe and frighteningly harmful, but one thing is clear—the contaminant that some testing agencies have found in ranitidine is a proven carcinogen. And, this means you may possibly have been injured by taking this recalled drug.

Why is There a Ranitidine Heartburn Medicine and Zantac Recall Right Now?

Back in mid-September 2019, Connecticut-based online pharmacy Valisure alerted the FDA because their independent testing revealed that some ranitidine products appeared to be contaminated with a cancer-causing substance known as N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). This prompted the FDA to take action—announced in a statement to the press per the agency’s usual policy—and open an investigation to determine whether the millions of Americans who take Zantac, ranitidine, and other drugs like it might be at risk.

A little later in the month of September, the FDA announced the first voluntary recall of 14 lots of prescription ranitidine capsules distributed by Sandoz Inc. because they were shown to be contaminated with NDMA in testing. While this recall asked that individuals taking the affected ranitidine discontinue use, it wasn’t until another few days later that the FDA expanded the voluntary recall to OTC store brand ranitidine labeled by Walgreens, Walmart, and Rite-Aid. Following this action, other makers and retailers also began recalling and testing their products, as well.

More About NDMA

Does NDMA sound familiar to you? Unfortunately, it’s not the first time in recent history that a drug has been recalled for contamination with this impurity. Our previous blog post about the years-long valsartan recall saga introduced how NDMA—a probable human carcinogen—was one of several contaminants in blood pressure and heart condition drugs that contain valsartan.

NDMA is a well-known toxin to the human liver, and it reliably produces cancer in lab rats. While it’s an organic compound that can be found at low levels in cooked, smoked, or cured foods, it is mainly a by-product of specific industrial processes. It’s also found in tobacco smoke.

How to Know if You May Have a Ranitidine Injury

If you have taken Zantac or generic ranitidine for any length of time and have suffered liver damage or been diagnosed with stomach or bladder cancer, there may be a connection. Be sure to talk with your doctor about how these issues can be related so that your concerns are documented in your medical records.

Additionally, if you are still taking ranitidine now, it is vital that you talk to your doctor about potential alternatives for managing heartburn, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), and other acid reflux conditions.

Beware of Other Heartburn Remedies, Too.

Of course, some of the other popular medicines that combat heartburn symptoms and that may be offered to you as a ranitidine alternative—specifically proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) like Prilosec and Nexium—have also been the subject of defective drug personal injury lawsuits.

It is always a good idea to do a little background research on any medicine you’ve been prescribed by your doctor or purchased over the counter. Understanding whether there are significant side effects or health risks associated with a particular drug can help you avoid painful injuries.

We’ve cataloged some of the most harmful defective drugs on our website, but there are many more. Be sure to check with the FDA’s website for current and past drug recall notices.

What to Do If You Suspect You’ve Been Injured by Zantac or Generic Ranitidine

As mentioned above, you should always consult your doctor about any health concerns you have, whether you’ve taken a recalled medication or not. However, because liver damage and cancer can stem from taking contaminated Zantac or OTC ranitidine, it is imperative that you be examined by your doctor if you’ve regularly used this medicine.

If you or a loved one have taken any recalled drugs and later experienced significant illness, injury, or even death, you may be entitled to compensation.

Call an experienced and compassionate personal injury lawyer who understands what it takes to fight and win against the drug companies. Here at Westmoreland Injury Lawyers, we are that personal injury resource for Greensburg and Western PA. Contact us now for your complimentary case review.