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Illinois Zantac Injury Attorney

Illinois Zantac and Other Harmful Drugs Injury Attorneys

Chicago Dangerous Drugs Lawyer for Cancer Related to the Use of Antacid Medication

Zantac is a commonly-used medication that may address conditions such as heartburn, stomach ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and other issues that affect the digestive system. By reducing the production of stomach acid, Zantac may treat symptoms such as stomach pain, persistent coughing, or difficulty swallowing. However, Zantac and its generic equivalents were recalled in 2020 because they were found to contain a chemical that has been linked to cancer. Since Zantac was in regular use throughout the United States for multiple decades prior to the recall, millions of people may have been put at risk of serious harm when using this medication.

When large companies fail to take the proper steps to prevent injuries to consumers and members of the general public, they may be held liable for the harm people have suffered as a result. Newland & Newland, LLP works to protect the rights and interests of people who have been injured by defective or dangerous medications. With our experience in mass torts and legal cases involving large numbers of injury victims, we can make sure our clients take the correct steps to hold a negligent drug manufacturer responsible for putting them at risk.

Potential Illnesses and Health Issues Related to Zantac Use

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a recall of Zantac and other products containing the drug ranitidine, including both prescription and over-the-counter versions of these medications. This recall was performed due to the presence of the chemical N-nitrosodimethylamine, which is also known as NDMA. Researchers have found that the drugs had not been contaminated with NDMA; rather, ranitidine breaks down to form NDMA over time, especially at higher temperatures, although this can occur at room temperature as well.

Since Zantac and generic versions of the drug may have been exposed to fluctuating temperatures while on store shelves, while being transported by shipping companies or consumers, or while being kept in people's homes, there is no way to ensure that it is safe. The FDA has asked for all ranitidine products to be removed from stores, and it has advised consumers to stop taking any of these medications and dispose of any drugs in their possession.

NDMA is a contaminant that may be found in the environment, and it may occur naturally or because of industrial processes. It has been found in water and soil, as well as certain meats and vegetables. It had also been used in the past to make rocket fuel. While people may safely consume low levels of NDMA, higher amounts can be harmful to the body, leading to liver damage or other injuries. While the FDA has stated that 96 nanograms of NDMA is an acceptable level for medications, some researchers found that ranitidine products had NDMA levels as high as 47,600 nanograms.

NDMA has been linked to multiple forms of cancer, including:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Liver cancer

Zantac FAQs

Are Generic Versions of Zantac Safe to Use?

The recall included all medications containing the drug ranitidine, including those using name brand Zantac and generic versions of the drug. In addition to the over-the-counter versions of the drug sold in pharmacies and other stores, the recall also included prescription medications in both pill and liquid form. As part of the recall, stores have been instructed to stop selling all ranitidine drugs, and consumers should stop using these drugs and dispose of them using approved methods.

How Did Zantac Become Contaminated?

Zantac was recalled because it contained N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a chemical that may cause cancer. Technically, Zantac was not "contaminated," since NDMA did not enter the drug from an external source. Instead, the molecules of ranitidine are unstable, and they can break down in certain conditions, forming NDMA. Researchers who discovered this issue found that this breakdown is more likely to occur at higher temperatures, but it can also take place when Zantac is stored at room temperature. Because the drugs may have been exposed to changing temperatures during the manufacturing process, when being packaged and distributed, while on store shelves, when transported in consumers' vehicles, or when kept at people's homes, there is no way to tell when they may have broken down and become dangerous to use.

How Long Were These Unsafe Drugs Available to Consumers?

Since the presence of NDMA in Zantac is caused by the chemical composition of the drug, it is likely that this issue has been present since the drug was initially introduced to the market in 1983. Over nearly four decades, countless people have taken the drug, potentially exposing them to unsafe chemicals.

What Are the Risks of Using Zantac?

Scientists have not yet reached a consensus regarding how the use of Zantac may have affected consumers. Some researchers have found a link between the use of ranitidine and certain forms of cancer, including liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer, and bladder cancer. One study reviewed medical records of over 450,000 people, 26,000 of whom had been diagnosed with cancer, and it found that 1.9 percent of people with cancer reported that they had used ranitidine. This study also found that ranitidine users were also nearly twice as likely to contract liver cancer. Research on this issue is ongoing, and scientists may find a more conclusive link between exposure to NDMA and different forms of cancer.

Contact Our Chicago Ranitidine Injury Lawyer

Zantac was a widely used drug for many years, and it was marketed as a safe treatment for digestive issues and recommended for use by medical professionals. Users of this medication who have contracted cancer or experienced related health issues will need to understand their options for addressing the ways they have been affected. Since large numbers of people are likely to have been affected, they may be able to pursue mass torts against manufacturers who allowed potentially dangerous medications to be sold to consumers. To learn how Newland & Newland, LLP can help you pursue compensation for injuries and illnesses related to Zantac, please contact us today at 847-797-8000 and set up a free consultation.

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