What is Ranitidine?
Ranitidine is a medication designed to reduce the production of stomach acid. It is used to treat several gastrointestinal issues including the following:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Peptic ulcer disease
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
- Erosive esophagitis
- Upper gastrointestinal bleeding
- Duodenal ulcers
- Gastric ulcers
- Stress-induced ulcers
- Postoperative ulcers
Ranitidine is classified as a histamine-2 receptor or H2 blocker. It works by inhibiting histamine action at the H2 receptors in the gastric parietal cells. It is often taken orally in tablet, capsule or liquid form but it can be injected as well. It is available over the counter and through a prescription.
The medication was first introduced by Glaxo Group Research (now GlaxoSmithKline) who made the drug commercially available in 1981. It grew to become the world’s best-selling prescription drug.
Over the years, Zantac has changed ownership several times. Boehringer Ingelheim, Johnson & Johnson and Pzifer have manufactured the drug.
Sanofi also has manufactured the drug and sold it in a variety of forms. Trade names to look out for include Zantac, Zantac 75, Zantac Efferdose, Zantac Injection and Zantac Syrup.
Ranitidine Precautions and Side Effects
In addition to causing cancer, ranitidine can also produce a several unwanted side effects. These include the following:
- Blurred Vision
- Unusual bruising or bleeding
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Cholestatic hepatitis
- Antrioventricular block
- Premature ventricular beats
- Liver Failure
- Mental confusion
Ranitidine is not recommended for breast feeding women as it can enter the breast milk and be ingested by the infant.
Ranitidine and other medications that decrease stomach acid have been linked to an increased risk of acute gastroenteritis and community acquired pneumonia in children.
Ranitidine is not recommended for patients that have kidney or liver impairment. The medication may also mask the symptoms of stomach cancer.
Ranitidine and Cancer
Valisure is an online pharmacy that tests medications before putting them on the market. When testing Zantac, they found unusually high levels of the chemical N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).
NDMA is a water-soluble organic chemical. Its chemical formula is C2H6N2O. It consists of a nitrate group (N02) that is chemically attached to a dimethylamine group. This characterizes it as a cancer causing chemical.
The chemical was originally used to make rocket fuel but, more recently, it has been used for research purposes only. It is a yellow liquid with no obvious taste of odor. It can be produced as a byproduct of manufacturing processes and it is, therefore, present in some food, beauty and household cleaning products. However, it is safe when present in small amounts.
NDMA is a semi-volatile organic chemical the belongs to the N-nitrosamines family. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considered N-nitrosamines to be cancer causing substances that may increase the risk of bladder cancer.
The Ranitidine Cancer Link
Valisure discovered the high levels if NDMA in Zantac in 2019. However, earlier studies had been conducted that suggested there was a ranitidine cancer link.
In 2017, the Chemosphere journal published a study that showed that ranitidine forms NDMA when placed in drinking water.
In previous years, the Carcinogenesis journal published a study that showed that those taking ranitidine had a 400-fold increase of NDMA concentration in their urine. Researchers in the study also noted that those who took ranitidine had NDMA excretion rates that equaled or exceeded those observed in patients with schistosomiasis, a disease where N-nitrosamines are considered to be the cause of bladder cancer.
A 2004 study conducted at the National Cancer Institute also found a link between ranitidine and bladder cancer noting that nitrate ingestion can increase the bladder cancer risk.
The Legal Battle Against Ranitidine
If you or a loved one developed cancer as a result of taking ranitidine, you need to find a reliable lawyer to represent you. The right lawyer will help you build a case that shows that you purchased the medication and that it was the taking of the medication that led to your illness.
There are many personal injury and wrongful death attorneys available as well as those who have taken a special interest in the legal battle against ranitidine. These attorneys can help you become compensated for damages including a loss of wages, medical expenses and emotional pain and suffering.
Pharmaceutical companies that manufactured ranitidine products were fully aware of how dangerous their products could be. Yet, they chose to sell them anyway producing a health risk for millions of innocent people. Don’t let them get away with it. If your quality of life has been negatively affected by taking Zantac medication, call a reliable lawyer today.
Get answers to your frequently asked questions here: