Zantac is a common antacid available in most grocery stores or pharmacies without a prescription. However, all Zantac products made before April 2020 have been recalled because they contain N-nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA, which is a known carcinogen, a substance that can cause cancer in humans. After its recall by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in April 2020, the number of lawsuits against Zantac and its developer, GlaxoSmithKline skyrocketed. In Florida, The United States District Court Southern District of Florida is currently hearing a class action case involving patients who used Zantac.
What Is Zantac?
As described above, Zantac is a common antacid containing the main ingredient N-nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA. The active ingredient was first discovered in England in 1976 and entered commercial use in 1981. When used as an active ingredient in antacids, NDMA serves as a stomach acid blocker, which reduces the amount of acid produced, easing pain and discomfort from heartburn. Zantac, also known as Ranitidine, was first created in 1983 and has since been available for purchase and prescription. While other companies and antacid brands have used NDMA in their products, Zantac remains the most prominent brand. Today, Zantac is still available today, however, it is produced with a different active ingredient called Ramotidine, a safe and effective alternative.
Why Was Zantac Recalled?
In April 2020, the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, recalled Zantac for high levels of NDMA. Since its creation in the 1980s, evidence suggests NDMA is a cancer-causing agent. In late 2019, Valish announced that its research determined that Ranitidine, Zantac’s company designation for the drug, was unstable and could accumulate higher amounts of NDMA over time. After identifying the issue with NDMA and Zantac, researchers at Stanford University and others found that the levels of NDMA in Zantac were far higher than the FDA’s daily acceptable intake limit.
Does NDMA Cause Cancer?
Yes, NDMA can cause answer. NDMA has been linked with cancers including bladder, colon, kidney, liver, stomach, and breast cancers. Other potential cancers include esophageal, pancreatic, ovarian, and melanoma. In general, NDMA is associated with incidences of these cancers in both testing and treatment. However, the exact risk level of developing cancer from NDMA consumption is unclear. Researchers at the European Medicines Agency have studied the link by reviewing cancer risk in another medication commonly used in Europe that contains NDMA. They discovered that the cancer risk posed by those drugs ranged from 12 to 30 cases per 100,000 for those taking 24.1 micrograms of NDMA a day every four years. There has been some confusion and debate on the amount of risk posed by NDMA versus other similar active ingredients, Famotidine. It is unclear if other NDMA alternatives are as carcinogenic as NDMA, but the research is ongoing. Nonetheless, scientists have agreed that the amount of NDMA in the previous version of Zantac posed a higher cancer risk than others containing the active ingredient.
Is Zantac Still Being Sold?
Zantac is still being sold in stores today. However, as with many other products containing NDMA, they have been removed from shelves. In early 2021, Zantac producer GlaxoSmithKline introduced a re-engineered version of the over-the-counter antacid with the a different primary non-NDMA active ingredient, Famotidine.
How Does the Zantac Class Action Lawsuit Affect Me?
The full effects of the Zantac litigation are not yet apparent, as the class actions—including the action before the Florida federal court—are still in preliminary proceedings. However, the recall and the subsequent lawsuits have provided greater insight into the effects of NDMA and its ability to cause cancer. Current events have led to NDMA no longer being manufactured and included in other products apart from antacids. Still, these lawsuits may affect you more directly than you might think. While the cancer risk associated with NDMA in Zantac appears to be relatively low or inconclusive, the fact remains that NDMA is a cancer-causing agent used in a product taken by millions of Americans daily. These class-action lawsuits include people who took Zantac and have since experienced effects from that use.
What Should I Do If I Have Suffered Negative Effects From Zantac Or NDMA?
If you or someone you know has been a long-time Zantac user, you may be able to join the class action. Before joining the lawsuit, though, it is important to determine if you are one of those users who should be included in the litigation. It can be challenging to make that determination, as many class-action suits are still preliminary. The attorneys at The Watson Firm can help you determine if you should join one of these lawsuits. The Watson Firm attorneys have extensive experience working on personal injury cases related to products liability, and we can help you determine how to move forward with your case.
If you have questions, want to know more about the Zantac class action lawsuits, or wish to schedule a free case evaluation relating to products liability, call us today at (850) 607-2929 or contact us online.