Heartburn Drug Ranitidine (Brand Name Zantac) Recalled

On Wednesday, April 1, 2020 the FDA requested the immediate removal of all Zantac and ranitidine products from the market by manufacturers. The FDA has been studying the cancer-causing properties of Zantac and its generic equivalents since it announced in September 2019 that NDMA was found in some samples.

NDMA, which stands for N-nitrosodimethylamine, is classified as a probable human carcinogen. Recalls of over the counter (OTC) ranitidine products have been occurring regularly since last September. Consumers are advised to stop taking their OTC ranitidine or Zantac. Patients taking it under a doctor’s prescription are advised not to stop taking the drug until they have consulted with their physician to substitute another drug in its place. You should retain any unused medication if you believe you may have a legal claim.

Why is Zantac Being Recalled?

The latest FDA research shows that the level of NDMA in ranitidine increases as it sits in the container over time and that it increases, even more, when the drugs are stored at high temperatures. High temperatures can occur during shipping and storage. In the recall notice, the FDA said that testing and evaluation showed NDMA in ranitidine increased even under normal storage conditions. The older the product is (the longer since it was manufactured) the greater the level of probable carcinogen NDMA.

In September, CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart all announced that they would no longer carry Zantac or ranitidine products sold over the counter. Novartis also announced that it would recall all OTC ranitidine products made by Sandoz.

A lab in California petitioned the FDA to remove all ranitidine products from the market. Their testing found that after being stored for only 5 days above 70 degrees Celsius (158 degrees Fahrenheit) the level of NDMA had risen above the FDA limit. 

What is Zantac Used For?

Zantac is a popular heartburn treatment. The drug decreases stomach acid production. It was initially available as a prescription only but began being sold over the counter in approximately the mid-1990s. Developed in the 1970s, it was one of the world’s biggest-selling prescription drugs by 1987. Twenty years later in 2017, it was still the 48th-most-often prescribed drug in America.

Are Other Heartburn Medications Contaminated with NDMA?

There are newer drugs commonly used to treat heartburn. The FDA has found no NDMA in famotidine (Pepcid), cimetidine (Tagamet), esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid) or omeprazole (Prilosec). These are available over the counter. If you were taking Zantac or ranitidine with or without a prescription, please consult your doctor or pharmacist for advice on what to use as a replacement.

Trust Our Massachusetts Zantac Lawyers to Help

If you were diagnosed with cancer while using ranitidine or Zantac, you may have a legal claim for damages. Contact the Boston law firm of Thornton Law Firm LLP online or at 1-888-341-1405 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in Massachusetts drug and medical device litigation. You have nothing to risk. We offer a fair and accurate assessment of your case.