Carcinogens in Zantac Causes Cancer Scare Worldwide
Australian drug regulators have discovered dangerously high levels of a carcinogen in 75% of tested Zantac medications.
Zantac (ranitidine) has been a popular medication widely used by the public for decades to treat heartburn and acid reflux. However, recent testing indicates that Zantac’s active ingredient is unstable and can convert into a cancer-causing impurity known as N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).
According to ABC News, Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) tested batches of Zantac and generic ranitidine for the presence NDMA and found hazardously high levels of the carcinogen.
In a press statement, the TGA revealed they found high levels of NDMA in 75% of the 135 batches of Zantac tested. These contaminated tablets contained over three parts per million of NDMA, which is far above the recommended levels. The TGA’s testing raises further concerns of Zantac users developing cancer from taking impure drugs.
In recent years, NDMA has contaminated other prescription drugs on the market, causing similar cancer scares to that of Zantac. In 2018, the popular blood pressure medication valsartan was found to have high levels of NDMA contamination, causing recalls and market withdrawals worldwide. Valsartan manufacturers now face thousands of lawsuits from injured individuals claiming their kidney, liver, and stomach cancer diagnoses were caused by the harmful medication.
The TGA’s testing results are still being validated, but the TGA recalled Zantac and generic ranitidine on October 4 out of caution.
The TGA warns that Zantac recalls and market withdrawals have caused a shortage, forcing individuals to choose alternatives for their Zantac medications.
“Ranitidine tablets and oral liquids are not in short supply as a number of commonly-used brands have been recalled from pharmacies, hospitals, wholesalers, and other retail outlets, such as supermarkets and online stores,” stated the TGA in a press release.
Zantac NDMA Background
NDMA in Zantac was first reported in America by the online pharmacy Valisure in early September. Valisure’s health officials discovered that levels of NDMA in Zantac were 26,000 times higher than the FDA’s permitted daily intake of the chemical.
Following Valisure’s warning, FDA issued a announcement September 13 of the presence of NDMA in Zantac. However, the FDA has not issued a Zantac recall yet.
Taking precautionary measures, many Zantac sellers across the US have pulled the medication and ranitidine generics from their shelves. Walgreens, Walmart, and CVS Pharmacy are among many of the distributors who have discontinued selling Zantac.
As officials worldwide continue to investigate problems with Zantac and the extent of the contamination, many recommend for Zantac/ranitidine users to find safer alternatives for their heartburn medication until more is known.