If you’re a regular user of any of the heartburn medications that contain ranitidine, you’re likely closely watching the news for information about Zantac cancer risks. The FDA recently requested the removal of both over-the-counter and prescription versions of ranitidine, which is sold under the brand name Zantac and under several other brands as a generic. The request follows the initial discovery of a contaminant known as N-nitrosodimethylamine (or NDMA) by an independent laboratory, and then again in tests conducted by the agency itself.
The contaminant is carcinogenic and is the cause of Zantac cancer concerns, While the issuance of the request has focused on Zantac, the FDA has also asked companies that make similar medications to test their products to see whether similar contamination is evident in their drugs. Though other H2 blockers and proton-pump inhibitors do not contain ranitidine, the agency is acting for the testing to be done as a precaution.
Testing Differences Reflect Differing Levels of the NDMA that Leads to Zantac Cancer
The concerns over Zantac cancer were first raised by the online pharmacy Valisure, which ran tests that yielded “extremely high levels” of NDMA. The FDA’s testing yielded lower levels than Valisure’s did, and there is a strong belief that the difference comes from the two entities using different testing methods. While Valisure exposed the medication to temperatures much higher than normal body temperature (and therefore atypical conditions for the medication’s storage), the FDA methodology used lower heat that is closer to normal body temperature. They are asking that companies manufacturing ranitidine and the other medications to run tests similar to the ones that they used themselves.
Despite the stated fears about Zantac cancer, the FDA has not yet issued a full recall of ranitidine products, but many manufacturers and retailers have taken action to clear the products off of their shelves anyway.