The FDA asked companies on April 1, 2020 to stop selling all forms of the heartburn drug Zantac after they concluded a potential cancer causing contaminant can build up in the drug when stored for a long period of time. The agency also recommended consumers who use the over-the-counter forms of the drug, also known as ranitidine stop taking it and that they should dispose of any tablets or liquid that they have. People who take prescription forms of the drug should speak with their doctor about other options before stopping the treatment.
Most manufacturers pulled their products from the shelves several months ago when an outside pharmacy sounded the alarm last year. Chains like Rite Aid, Walgreens and CVS are on record as saying they have removed all of these products from their shelves. The contaminant was a type of nitrosamine called N-nitrosodimethylamine NDMA which is believed to be carcinogenic in humans and is found in many different products including cured meats.
Sanofi, the company that manufactures Zantac, said it recalled the product in October 2019 and all retailers and consumers were previously instructed to return or destroy the product. The FDA’s investigation into this matter was prompted by the findings of an online pharmacy Valisure. They petitioned the agency to request a recall of all products containing ranitidine after their testing revealed levels of NDMA higher than the FDA allows. Valisure, which tests the drugs they sell for quality, began analyzing all products they sell for NDMA.
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