On April 1, 2020, the United States Food and Drug Administration issued a press release in which they requested all the manufacturers of Zantac and generic ranitidine drugs be withdrawn from the market. 

This is a result of an on-going investigation into Zantac and the Food and Drug Administration was able to determine that N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), in some medicines “increases over time and when stored at higher than room temperatures and may result in consumer exposure to unacceptable levels…” 

The Environmental Protection Agency, the World Health Organization, and the Food and Drug Administration all classify NDMA as a cancer-causing substance.

What is NDMA? 

The main risk of contracting cancer if you take Zantac/ranitidine is the known carcinogen, NDMA.

N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) is a water-soluble organic chemical that contains carbon and is part of the nitrate group that is chemically attached to the dimethylamine group. This fact is extremely fundamental to the Zantac cancer connection. 

NDMA is a liquid that doesn’t have any obvious odor or taste and was once used to produce rocket fuel, but today is only produced for research purposes. However NDMA can be produced as a byproduct of a manufacturing process and you can be exposed to small amounts of NDMA in products such as tobacco, cured meat, fish, beer, and cheese, and in shampoos, cleansers, and pesticides.

In 2019, Valisure, an online pharmacy did testing of Zantac and other products that contain ranitidine using methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration. In every lot that was tested, Valisure discovered alarmingly high levels of NDMA.

The testing done by Valisure showed that on average, more than 2,6000,00 ng of NDMA was present in Zantac 15mg tablets. Just as a comparison, the Food and Drug Administration has a permissible daily limit for NDMA of 96ng. This means that the NDMA contained in Zantac is approximately 28,000 times the legal limit.

To further put this into perspective, you would have to smoke at least 6,200 cigarettes to have the same level of NDMA contained in one 150mg dose of Zantac.

Did the World Health Organization Investigate NDMA?

The International Agency for Cancer Research, which is a unit of the World Health Organization is one of the most recognized cancer research institutions in the world.

After studying over 200 research papers on the cancer risk involved with NDMA, they put it in a Group 2A category which means that NDMA is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” 

Did the Stanford Study Support the Link Between Cancer and Zantac/Ranitidine?

Scientists at Stanford University conducted research regarding NDMA. The results of this research were published in the journal, ‘Carcinogenesis,”.

The researchers tested the urine of adult volunteers 24 hours before and 24 hours they took a standard dose of Zantac/ranitidine. They found that the levels of NDMA in the urine of the volunteers increased by 400% from the 110 ng to 47,600 ng. These levels were found to underestimate the actual NDMA exposure in the body because only a small amount of NDMA is excreted in your urine.

How Does NDMA Cause Cancer?

Many types of cancer are known to be the direct result of chronic exposure to a carcinogenic leading to repeated damage to your DNA, that your body can’t fully repair and then to genetic mutations.

The NDMA cancer mechanism has been extensively studied. When NDMA enters your body, your body’s defense system is then activated. Your defense system “army” is then sent to destroy any foreign invaders and consists in part of a group of enzymes called P450. These enzymes then engage the foreign substance in your body in a set of extremely complex chemical reactions.

One of your CY450 “soldiers’ is the one that is though to go after the NDMA in your body. As a result of these chemical interactions and reactions, the organic compound methyl diazonium ion (MI) is formed.

In scientific literature, MI is referred to as an “ultimate carcinogen.” This means that it interacts with your cellular DNA to initiate carcinogenesis. 

Zantac and Cancer 

Because the formation of NDMA can occur throughout your body following you consuming Zantac, it is tied to different cancers. Currently, the following cancers are being investigated as being linked to Zantac/ranitidine:

  1. Bladder Cancer
  2. Breast Cancer
  3. Esophageal Cancer
  4. Intestinal Cancer
  5. Kidney Cancer
  6. Liver Cancer
  7. Lung Cancer – only if you are a non-smoker
  8. Ovarian Cancer
  9. Pancreatic Cancer
  10. Prostate Cancer
  11. Stomach Cancer
  12. Testicular Cancer
  13. Thyroid Cancer
  14. Uterine Cancer

If you or a loved one has taken Zantac/ranitidine routinely, and have developed cancer as a result, please contact one of our Long Island, New York attorneys at The Falkowitz Law Firm. Our team of dedicated and experienced Zantac lawyers, will meet with you for your free consultation, evaluate your individual circumstances, and advise you of your next legal steps to get all the monetary compensation you deserve.