Millions of Americans take the over-the-counter heartburn drug Zantac, which is entirely comprised of a compound known as ranitidine. As a histamine-2 blocker, ranitidine is particularly effective at treating acid indigestion and other minor gastrointestinal symptoms. However, in light of the FDA’s discovery that Zantac contains low levels of a human carcinogen, it’s important for consumers to stay alert and avoid taking further doses of Zantac whenever possible.

While there have not been any reported cases of cancer due to taking Zantac, the company has decided to issue a recall for this drug – and it’s entirely possible that heavy Zantac users may develop cancer as a result of this dangerous contamination. At Wagner Reese, our defective drug attorneys bring years of experience fighting for the victims of negligent pharmaceutical companies. If you believe that taking Zantac caused you to become seriously ill, we can help you navigate the process of filing a claim.

What Are the Risks of Taking Zantac?

Over the past year, drug makers have issued dozens of voluntary recalls for blood pressure and heart medications, after discovering that they had been contaminated with N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). NDMA has been classified as a probable human carcinogen, as it has caused lab rats to develop a wide range of cancers and illnesses. Unfortunately, this is exactly the same carcinogenic compound that was recently discovered in Zantac.

Unlike the recalled blood pressure medication valsartan, Zantac is available over-the-counter at most pharmacies and drug stores across the country. Because it does not require a prescription, consumers who suffer from heartburn and indigestion often take it regularly to manage their symptoms – and in the long term, this kind of usage could lead to NDMA exposure and even cancer diagnoses.

 Symptoms of NDMA exposure can include:

  • Liver damage
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Fever
  • Dizziness and vertigo
  • Jaundice
  • Headaches
  • Reduced kidney and lung function

How Did Zantac Become Contaminated?

After the FDA issued an announcement about Zantac contamination on September 13, 2019, several major drug companies have pursued a voluntary recall for their generic ranitidine products, including Sanofi, the maker of Zantac. Not all drugs containing ranitidine have been recalled, however, and it’s unclear just how many batches may be contaminated.

In the case of valsartan and other blood pressure medications, FDA officials traced the source of NDMA contamination back to specific overseas manufacturers. At Hetero Labs in India and Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals in China, FDA agents discovered that a lack of oversight contributed to a build-up of NDMA in certain drug lots. The FDA is still performing a full investigation into the Zantac defects, but it seems likely that overseas manufacturers may be involved yet again here.

Taking Accountability for Defective Medications

As a general rule, we expect that drug companies will exercise due diligence to remove contaminants. Medicines often have well-documented side effects, but when you’re exposed to an entirely unknown hazard, the results can be devastating. If you or your loved ones have been taking Zantac and start to notice adverse symptoms, speak with your doctor immediately. Then, if you decide to take legal action, our team at Wagner Reese can help you narrow down the causes and hold the right party accountable for your losses.

Call (888) 204-8440 today for a free consultation on your Zantac lawsuit.