Does Zantac Cause Cancer?

July 30, 2021

If you struggle with acid reflux, stomach ulcers, and other unpleasant gastroesophageal conditions, you have probably heard of Zantac. This H2 antagonist is a common prescription and over-the-counter medication that helps regulate stomach acid production.

However, recent findings by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discovered that Zantac and generic ranitidine products may raise patients’ risks of certain cancers. If you are a former Zantac patient who developed cancer after taking this medication, you may qualify for legal action.

Does Zantac Cause Cancer

How Does Zantac Cause Cancer?

In September 2019, an online pharmacy called Valisure was conducting testing on batches of ranitidine, the generic name for Zantac, when it discovered unusual levels of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). NDMA is a probable human carcinogen and organic chemical that is found naturally in many substances, such as alcoholic beverages, cured meats, tobacco smoke, and cheeses. Humans can safely consume up to 96 nanograms of NDMA per day; however, Valisure discovered that some tablets of Zantac contained over 3 million nanograms of NDMA.

In response to these findings, the FDA requested the removal of all Zantac and ranitidine products in April 2020. This NDMA contamination may increase over time and due to improper storage conditions, such as high temperatures. If a patient takes contaminated Zantac for a year or longer, his or her risk for certain types of cancer may increase.

Chances of Getting Cancer After Taking Zantac

Although NDMA is linked to an increased cancer risk, evidence on the prevalence after cancer after Zantac use is limited at this time. These findings are very recent, and studies are currently under review. However, there are studies available about NDMA contamination in other medications.

For example, one 2020 study examined valsartan, a high blood pressure medication also found to have been contaminated by NDMA. This study found that approximately 12 to 30 cases of cancer occurred per every 100,000 valsartan patients. These patients took at least 320 milligrams of valsartan containing 24.1 micrograms of NDMA every day for at least four years.

While the cancer rate for valsartan may seem slim, findings are limited, and Zantac patients may see a higher risk of these conditions. In the 2020 study, the researchers acknowledged that the risk from NDMA in ranitidine is more problematic and may be greater.

What Types of Cancer Does Zantac Cause?

NDMA contamination in Zantac may lead to several types of cancers, including the following. 

  • Stomach cancer
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Breast cancer

It is important to note that this list is not exhaustive and additional cancers may occur due to Zantac use. If you have been diagnosed with another type of cancer after taking Zantac, speak to a Zantac lawyer as soon as possible.

Zantac Cancer Symptoms

Zantac cancer symptoms can vary from patient to patient, and may not become apparent until the disease is in its later stages. However, there are certain warning signs of cancer that may indicate that you have the disease. Common Zantac cancer symptoms include the following.

  • Unexplained, unintentional weight loss
  • Poor appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sudden changes in bowel habits
  • Bloody or tar-colored stools
  • Light-colored or greasy stools
  • Fatigue, dizziness, or weakness
  • New and unexplained abdominal pain
  • Jaundice, or the yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Back pain
  • Dark urine 
  • Blood in the urine
  • A sudden urge to urinate
  • Incontinence
  • Painful urination
  • Itchy skin

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, seek help from a physician as soon as possible. Identifying cancer in its early stages could increase your chances of a good prognosis.

Ranitidine Cancer Risk

The FDA requested that companies remove their Zantac and ranitidine products from the market if tablets contained more than 96 nanograms of NDMA. However, NDMA contamination may increase over time, and early testing results may be inaccurate.

If a box of Zantac is stored in a hot warehouse or grocery store, the presence of NDMA may increase. Additionally, if a store keeps Zantac products on the shelf for months, the tablets’ NDMA levels may be much higher than what they were when a company initially tested for the carcinogen. This increases patients’ risk for developing life-altering cancers.

What To Do if You Were Diagnosed With Cancer

A cancer diagnosis can feel scary and overwhelming. You may wonder about your prognosis, worry about how you will pay for treatment, and struggle with the physical and psychological impact of the condition.

Drug manufacturers have a duty to warn patients of all possible risks and side effects, and Zantac’s manufacturers failed to uphold this duty by not examining the medication’s cancer risk. As a result, patients who developed cancer after taking Zantac could file a lawsuit and recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Take the following steps after your diagnosis to seek help and initiate your Zantac claim.

  • Inform your doctor about your history with Zantac or ranitidine. This may help your physician identify the best course of action for your treatment and aid in your diagnosis.
  • Continue to receive medical treatment and save all records related to your condition. These may include medical records, doctor’s notes, and prescription slips. Not only will seeking treatment help with your condition, but your medical evidence will form the foundation of your claim.
  • Start a journal. Each day, record information about the physical and psychological impact of the cancer. Detail the symptoms you experienced, the treatment you received, and how the condition is affecting your daily life. This journal could help prove your right to pain and suffering damages.
  • You will need to prove that you took Zantac to qualify for a lawsuit against the drug’s manufacturers. If you have prescription slips, old bottles, receipts, or any other documentation that proves your Zantac use, gather and save them for your future claim.
  • Contact a lawyer who is currently working on Zantac litigation to discuss your case and legal options. Depending on where you live, there may be time limits on your claim. To protect your right to recovery, initiate your claim as soon as possible following your diagnosis.

If you were diagnosed with cancer after taking Zantac, you may be eligible for financial compensation. In these situations, it is important to consult with a Zantac lawsuit attorney as soon as possible. After receiving treatment for your condition, contact a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your eligibility and next steps.