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Ranitidine (Zantac) recalled due to cancer risk

Zantac is one of the most popular heartburn medications in the United States. Millions of people use it frequently. That's all due to change, as recent tests have revealed a cancer risk and major drugstores have started pulling the products. Here is what you need to know.

Findings in September

This is all very new, with the findings coming in September of 2019. That's when the Food and Drug Administration examined some recent tests, found that ranitidine (sold as Zantac) could contain N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), and announced it to the public. The N-nitrosodimethylamine levels were reportedly rather low, but they took the report seriously since it is a probable human carcinogen.

Generic versions

The problems that the test found lie with ranitidine. Zantac itself is just the main branded name for that product. The generic versions are getting recalled right now, as is Zantac itself. That's critical to know, and you want to check for ranitidine on any heartburn medications you may own.

The generic versions came through drug companies called Apotex and Novartis. Both started recalls in early October. That much is already underway, though it does little for consumers who have used the drug for years and who still have large quantities of it in their homes.

Why the tests happened

One potentially frightening thing about this is that the drug companies did not carry out these tests themselves. Instead, the tests began at the behest of an online pharmacy based out of Connecticut. In some conditions, those tests discovered NDMA in a variety of products containing ranitidine -- again, not just Zantac. They contacted the FDA, which led to the warnings and the recalls. How long would the drugs have remained in circulation if they had not done so?

Who sells Zantac?

Above, we have listed the names of two companies offering generic versions, both of which have been proactive and already begun pulling those products. But who makes the main product of Zantac itself? That is a company called Sanofi. They have also started recalls.

Can you still buy ranitidine?

If you still buy related medications, be careful. Read the box carefully. The only companies to start the recall are Sanofin, Apotex and Novartis/Sandoz, as of the latest reports. Other products made by other companies could still get sold in stores. You could still get exposed to cancer risks. Consumers have to know what to watch out for and how to avoid all products containing ranitidine as this process moves forward.

Your rights

Maybe it's too late for that. Maybe you already have cancer that links back to Zantac or ranitidine. If so, it is critical that you know your rights. Millions of Americans used these drugs, believing they were safe, and now they need to know what steps to take.

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