Zantac Litigation: Popular Heartburn Medication Linked to Cancer

Updated March 8, 2021.

Zantac (sold generically and in OTC format as Ranitidine) is a popular heartburn medication you can purchase either with or without a prescription. Zantac typically is taken by mouth before meals to reduce stomach acid. Doctors prescribe Zantac to treat ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and erosive esophagitis. Lower-strength versions of Zantac are sold over-the-counter to treat heartburn and acid indigestion.

Ranitidine is an H2 blocker (or Histamine-2 receptor antagonists) and works by occupying receptors on acid-producing cells in the stomach lining. The drug blocks histamines from attaching and the result is that the stomach produces less acid. First approved for use in 1984, by the late 1980’s Zantac was one of the best selling drugs in the world. In 1995 the FDA approved lower strengths of the medication for over the counter sales to consumers. Generic ranitidine products became available in the late 1990s.

In September 2019, an online pharmacy filed a Citizen’s Petition reporting to the Food and Drug Administration that it had found high levels of the cancer-causing chemical NDMA in Zantac and other ranitidine products. Preliminary testing by the FDA also found levels of NDMA over limits as set by the FDA as safe for human consumption.  

NDMA is a known hepatotoxin, meaning that it causes liver damage, and “a probable human carcinogen” according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Long-term exposure to NDMA has been linked to many types of cancer including the following:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Colorectal / intestinal cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Small intestine cancer
  • Stomach / gastric cancer
  • Breast cancer

After further investigation, the FDA issued a permanent U.S. recall of all Zantac and generic Ranitidine pills in April of 2020. If you or a loved one took Zantac or generic Ranitidine for a period of at least 2 years and developed any of the cancers listed above, the attorneys at Lacy Katzen LLP may be able to help. Please call today for a free consultation.


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