CVS Pharmacy has just become the most recent company to stop selling the heartburn medication Zantac. The drug is currently under investigation for possible contamination with a substance that is known to cause cancer.
Zantac, as well as other ranitidine-containing drugs, are currently recalled in both Canada and France and being studied in the U.S. and European Union. Although patients currently using these products are not in immediate danger, it’s suggested that they speak with their doctor about getting on an alternative drug.
Why are people now so afraid of ranitidine drugs?
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) both announced on September 13 that they’d be looking closely at ranitidine drugs for possible contamination. The suspected contaminant is called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), and it’s known as a probable human carcinogen.
Although NDMA can be found in water, meats, dairy products, and vegetables, it isn’t suspected to be dangerous at such low levels. Drugs containing ranitidine are typically taken on a fairly regular basis to reduce stomach acid, so there is concern of NDMA buildup with longterm regular use.
Where is the heartburn medication recalled so far?
CVS stated last week that it would remove Zantac and other ranitidine products from their shelves “out of an abundance of caution.” The drugs have not, however, been officially recalled. Furthermore, the FDA has not yet recommended that patients stop using the drug. Walgreens, Walmart, and Rite Aid have all taken a similar stance, and as well as companies in Canada, France, and Bangladesh.
What should you do if you’re currently taking a ranitidine drug?
According to the FDA, if you are currently taking Zantac or a generic form, you don’t need to immediately stop taking it. However, you may wish to consult your healthcare professional to see whether an alternative to your ranitidine drug exists. If you buy your medicine over the counter, you can do some research to see if there are any other options to remedy your problem.
Officials in the U.S. as well as internationally are claiming that there is no “acute threat” or immediate danger. But ranitidine-containing drugs are being thoroughly investigated in most countries where it’s available. Because of this concern, it may be a smart idea to consider switching to another drug if you’re able to and avoiding ranitidine altogether until the investigations are complete.