Does Zantac Cause Lung Cancer?

In 1988, the drug Zantac was introduced for the purpose of helping adults fight heartburn. By 1988, it was one of the top-selling drugs throughout the world, just before transitioning to an over-the-counter drug. Though more medications have been developed for heartburn, some substantially more effective than Zantac, the drug is still widely used due to its relatively low price. In 2016, more than 15 million people were prescribed this medication. However, late last year, researchers discovered that it may hold excessive concentrations of a carcinogen, NDMA. In light of recent research, medical experts and the public alike are now asking themselves the concerning question – is NDMA a cause of cancer?

NDMA Discovered in Zantac

Researchers have recently discovered the presence of a possible carcinogen in Zantac (also known by its generic name, ranitidine), known as N-nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA. The levels discovered in the drug were deemed “unacceptably high” and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acted quickly to order the cessation of the manufacturing and distribution of the drug just this April. 

The researchers of Sloan Memorial Cancer Center are working tirelessly to attain a better understanding of the connection between lung cancer and NMDA while federal experts have yet to confirm just how long the potential carcinogen has been present in the drug. 

What is NDMA?

As previously mentioned, NDMA is a possible carcinogen – not just to humans, but animals as well. Though laboratory tests have yet to reveal just how it wound up in Zantac, it is known that this environmental contaminant has been present in a variety of foods in the past. Such foods include grilled meats, dairy products, and vegetables. Regarding Zantac contamination, experts say that it is entirely possible that the drug was not contaminated by the injection or other external intrusion by NDMA, but that the heartburn medication may naturally break down over time to ultimately become NDMA. 

The FDA-approved concentration of NDMA for ingestion is 96 nanograms (ng) daily. When combined with Zantac, however, and once it has made contact with the body’s gastric fluids and sodium nitrites, more NDMA is produced leading to potentially dangerous consequences. (In these instances, concentrations of NDMA can reach highs of 304,500ng per tablet.)

Though lung cancer is a possible risk associated with NDMA exposure, that does cover all possibilities. Exposure to the contaminant through the ingestion of Zantac is linked to the following cancers:

  • Kidney
  • Esophageal
  • Bladder
  • Liver
  • Prostate
  • Colorectal
  • Small and large intestines
  • Stomach
  • Brain
  • Thyroid
  • Pancreatic
  • Leukemia
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Symptoms to Watch Out For

If you suspect you have been exposed to NDMA, contact your physician immediately. Upon ingestion of Zantac, observation of any of the following conditions is cause for an urgent visit with a medical professional and correspondence with an experienced lawyer.

  • Rapid, unintentional weight loss
  • Greasy stools that are light in color
  • Yellowing of the skin and/or eyes
  • Traces of blood in the urine or stools
  • Anemic symptoms including fatigue and dizziness 

Contact your physician upon noticing these symptoms, then get in contact with a Zantac lawyer today. They will investigate your case and get you the compensation you need to protect yourself during recovery and prevent future detrimental developments from the ingestion of the drug.

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