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September 30, 2019

CVS Stops Selling Zantac after Cancer Warnings

Zantac Cancer Scare

CVS Pharmacy pulled Zantac from their shelves over the weekend after concerns of the drug's ties to cancer.

Earlier this month, the FDA issued a warning that the popular heartburn medication and its generic counterparts contained low levels of a cancer-causing impurity known as NDMA. CVS along with drug retailers across the country are now responding to the news and removing Zantac products from their stores.

"CVS Pharmacy has suspended the sale of all Zantac brand and CVS Health brand ranitidine products until further notice" CVS said in an official statement released Saturday.

Ranitidine, the generic name for Zantac, is an H2 blocker that decreases acid levels in the stomach. As both an over-the-counter and prescription drug, doctors prescribe ranitidine medications to relieve heartburn, prevent ulcers, and treat gastroesophageal reflux disease.

After substantial laboratory testing, the FDA categorized N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) as a probable human carcinogen, or cancer-causing substance.  The FDA announced their findings of NDMA in ranitidine medications in a September safety announcement.

Though the FDA has not recalled Zantac or ranitidine products from the market yet, CVS says they suspended sales of these products "out of an abundance of caution."

CVS also states customers who purchased ranitidine products can return them to CVS for a refund.

The FDA is continuing to investigate ranitidine medications for drug impurities. However, they do not recommend for patients to stop taking ranitidine at this moment. Instead, the FDA suggests worried users should talk to their doctors about drug alternatives and other treatment options. 

Zantac Recalls

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) decided to investigate the presence of NDMA in ranitidine medications at the same time as the FDA. Now, countries across the world have announced Zantac recalls, including Canada and France.

Though the US hasn't announced a ranitidine recall yet, Walgreens, Walmart, and Rite Aid recently suspended Zantac sales in their stores.

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