By Dr. Hilton Perez, M.D., Clinical Director, HoyHealth
The popular medication Ranitidine, known as Zantac, is being removed from pharmacies for containing ingredients prone to cause cancer. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a voluntary recall of the generic version (OTC) of the medication.
The FDA has not asked patients to stop taking Ranitidine, and no adverse events have been yet reported.
Ranitidine is classified as an antihistamine. This medication is used to relieve and prevent heartburn. The prescribed Ranitidine has been approved to treat stomach ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux.
On September 24, 2019, the FDA announced a voluntary recall of 14 batches of the prescription Ranitidine from the pharmaceutical manufacturer Sandoz, Inc. The second announcement took place on September 26, 2019, where the FDA announced the voluntary recall of several OTC versions of Ranitidine, manufactured by Apotex Corporation, and generic products sold at Walgreens, Walmart and Rite Aid pharmacies.
These products were withdrawn after the FDA found traces of the component N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in these medications. Based on the testing conducted by the FDA, NDMA is classified as human carcinogen. NDMA is a contaminant found in consumer products, such as water, meats, dairy products, and vegetables.
If you are taking Ranitidine, first talk to your doctor, as not all of these medications produced by pharmaceutical manufacturers have been recalled from the market. In addition, the FDA has not recommended that patients stop taking Ranitidine.
First, check whether the medication you are taking is part of the products that were recalled. If you find that you have a product that has been recalled, return it to your pharmacy. The pharmacy will return the medication to the pharmaceutical manufacturer and will give you a replacement.
For more information, review the FDA notifications.