For years, many Americans have relied on prescription and over-the-counter ranitidine products to treat acid reflux, stomach ulcers, and other conditions related to the overproduction of stomach acid. Zantac, a name-brand ranitidine medication, was especially popular. In April 202, however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested the recall of all Zantac and ranitidine products due to their potentially carcinogenic impacts.
To avoid developing cancer due to Zantac use, it is important for Zantac patients to cease use immediately and find another medication to treat their conditions. Fortunately, there are many options available to treat these common gastroesophageal conditions, including proton pump inhibitors and natural lifestyle changes. In the event you or a loved one has already received a cancer diagnosis after taking Zantac, speak with a Zantac attorney as soon as possible to preserve your legal rights.
Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) Zantac Alternatives
Proton pump inhibitors, also known as PPIs, work by targeting the proton pumps in the stomach. Proton pumps are enzymes that are responsible for producing stomach acid. The overproduction of stomach acid contributes to heartburn, acid reflux, and other unpleasant conditions. By taking a PPI, patients can reduce the amount of acid that their proton pumps produce.
There are many prescription and over-the-counter PPI medications available on the market. Some of the most popular include Prilosec, Prevacid, and Nexium.
Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid vs. Zantac
Prilosec (omeprazole), Prevacid (esomeprazole), and Nexium (lansoprazole) are three types of proton pump inhibitors that irreversibly block the secretion of acid into the stomach. These medications are very similar in composition, but contain slight differences in their chemical makeup.
The prescription versions of these PPIs are stronger and used to treat chronic conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastric ulcers, bacterial infections, and erosive esophagitis. Over-the-counter Prilosec, Prevacid, and Nexium are used to treat milder, more common conditions, such as frequent heartburn. They can control acid production for up to 24 hours with daily use, but require a day or more of prior use to be effective.
On the other hand, Zantac is known as a histamine H2-receptor antagonist, or an H2 blocker. These medications work by traveling to parts of the stomach cells that release acids. The medication that prevents certain chemical reactions from occurring so that these cells do not produce as much acid. Zantac and other H2 blockers are only effective for up to 12 hours at a time, but become effective within 30 minutes.
Common PPI Side Effects
Like all medications, PPIs may cause side effects in some patients. Common PPI side effects include the following.
- Joint pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Stomach pain
In rare and serious cases, kidney problems, gastric cancer, and bone fractures may occur.
Common Zantac Side Effects
Zantac side effects may also occur in some patients. Some of the most common side effects involving Zantac include the following.
- Constipation and diarrhea
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
In very serious cases, a small number of patients may develop blood disorders, liver failure, and pancreatitis.
Natural Alternatives to Zantac
For milder cases of acid reflux or heartburn issues, doctors may not prescribe medication like Zantac immediately. In some situations, doctors may recommend natural alternatives, such as lifestyle changes or dietary adjustments. If you want to avoid taking medication for your gastroesophageal condition, ask your doctor for advice.
Certain foods, such as high-fat or spicy foods, can trigger conditions like acid reflux. In these situations, your doctor may advise you to avoid these foods or to reduce your intake. Your physician may also recommend that you avoid smoking or drinking alcohol, which could also aggravate your condition. Carbonated beverages like soda may also worsen acid reflux.
In many cases, overeating or eating too quickly triggers gastroesophageal discomfort. Your doctor may recommend cutting down your portion sizes or slowing down during mealtimes. If your acid reflux is worse at night, your doctor may recommend that you avoid eating close to bedtime and elevate your head while sleeping. You can elevate your upper body by raising the head of your bed or investing in a sleeping device like a wedge pillow.
These natural alternatives are not right for everybody. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may require medication to treat your gastroesophageal condition. Always speak to your doctor to determine the best course of action for your condition.
Dangers of Taking Zantac: Why Is Zantac Being Recalled?
If you are currently taking Zantac, it is very important to find an alternative medication as soon as possible. The FDA issued a recall for all prescription and over-the-counter Zantac products, as well as generic ranitidine, in April 2020. The agency made this decision after discovering that taking Zantac could lead to the development of certain cancers.
In September 2019, an online pharmacy known as Valisure was conducting routine tests on batches of Zantac when it made an unsettling discovery. Valisure found that Zantac contained dangerous levels of N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a probable human carcinogen. NDMA is an organic chemical that occurs naturally, but may lead to the development of cancers in the liver, bladder, stomach, intestine, esophagus, and other parts of the body.
Humans can safely consume up to 96 nanograms per day of NDMA, but Valisure’s research discovered that some batches of Zantac contained over 3 million nanograms of NDMA per tablet. This is a dangerously high number that could have profound implications on patient health and well-being, leading to financial hardship, emotional trauma, and painful physical symptoms. NDMA impurities may increase in Zantac over time and due to improper storage conditions, such as higher-than-normal temperatures.
Drug manufacturers have a duty to warn patients of all possible risks of taking their medications. Zantac’s manufacturers failed to uphold this duty and inform patients of the drug’s cancer risk. If you have been diagnosed with cancer after taking Zantac, you may be eligible for a lawsuit against the drug’s manufacturers. Through your claim, you can recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and the pain and suffering you endured due to your diagnosis.
To qualify for a Zantac lawsuit, you will need to meet the following criteria.
- You took prescription or over-the-counter Zantac.
- You were diagnosed with a cancer associated with NDMA exposure.
- You took Zantac for at least one year prior to your diagnosis.
If you are unsure whether you qualify for litigation against Zantac’s manufacturers, contact a Zantac lawsuit attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can evaluate your claim to determine your eligibility and help you identify your optimal path to recovery.