Jan 11, 2022 | By Gayle Gerling Pettinga | Read Time: 9 minutes
The popular stomach acid and heartburn medication, Zantac, has been linked to a notable increase in cancer risk. In 2020, the FDA recalled ranitidine, the generic name for Zantac and other over-the-counter stomach acid-blocking drugs. However, by that time, millions of Americans had potentially been exposed to a deadly carcinogen.
Today, Zantac class action lawsuit attorneys across the country are helping victims and their families pursue justice and fair financial compensation.
At Gerling Law, our Zantac lawsuit attorneys assist victims in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Nationwide. For more than 50 years, our firm has provided aggressive, highly personalized representation to injury accident victims.
We believe that anyone who sustained harm due to the negligence or wrongful actions of a drug company deserves justice. You could be entitled to recover compensation for your medical treatment, lost wages, emotional trauma, and more.
Contact us online or call (888) 437-5464 today for a free consultation.
The Link Between Zantac and Cancer
Ranitidine, used by millions of people around the world, has been sold under a variety of brand names as both a prescription and over-the-counter drug. Ranitidine in its original state is not believed to cause cancer. However, when the active ingredient of ranitidine breaks down, it releases a chemical compound known as N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). NDMA is a carcinogen.
Ranitidine breaks down normally over time. When exposed to heat, however, the process occurs much more quickly. Consequently, if Zantac or another ranitidine drug was stored at a temperature much beyond room temperature, or if the product was exposed to high heat, the breakdown would occur much more rapidly.
N-nitrosodimethylamine is an extremely toxic substance. In addition to forming in the degradation of ranitidine, NDMA also results from the breakdown of rocket fuel components and other industrial processes. It can be found as an ingredient in some types of pesticides.
The World Health Organization (WHO) published information in 2008 that identified NDMA as a known carcinogen. The WHO’s toxicological review data looked at levels of NDMA found in drinking water sources around the world. No one expected to learn that this extremely toxic substance could be sitting in their own medicine cabinet, disguised as a popular and commonly used stomach acid-reducing medication.
What Is the Risk of Getting Cancer from Zantac?
Initially, data indicated that cancer risks stemmed primarily from using ranitidine products that had been exposed to heat. More recent research, however, indicates that conditions within the human gastric tract could be sufficient to cause NDMA production.
Research from 2016, wherein researchers monitored the levels of NDMA in the urine before and after taking ranitidine, supported this conclusion. Residual levels of the chemical increased more than 400-fold in the urine of those participants who took Zantac or another ranitidine drug.
No solid data exist yet to prove how much more likely you are to develop cancer overall if you took Zantac. However, researchers believe that anyone who took a ranitidine product twice a week or more for a period of months or years could face an increased risk of getting cancer.
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The Types of Cancer Linked to Zantac Use
Medical experts and research scientists continue to gather data on this developing problem. However, thus far, the list of cancers associated with ranitidine use continues to grow.
These are some of the most common types of cancer caused by Zantac and ranitidine. Unfortunately, this list is in no way complete. It may be years or even decades before the medical and research communities can definitively list all the types of cancer that Zantac may have caused.
Zantac and Breast Cancer Risk: Does Zantac Cause Breast Cancer?
The link between ranitidine and breast cancer was one of the earliest discoveries about this drug. In 2008, a study examined the link between the use of histamine(2)-receptor antagonist (H(2) blocker) medications and breast cancer. Drugs falling into the H(2) blocker category include cimetidine, famotidine, and ranitidine. The study found no link between H(2) blockers and breast cancer in general.
However, the link between ranitidine and breast cancer was significant. In fact, the use of ranitidine increased the risk of ductal carcinoma by 220% and of estrogen receptor-positive/progesterone receptor-positive ductal carcinoma by 240%.
Despite this research having been performed in 2008, the drug manufacturers left Zantac and other ranitidine products on the market for almost 12 more years.
Research also links a history of Zantac use to cases of breast cancer in men. This disease rarely strikes men. Consequently, men typically do not undergo regular breast cancer screening. Talk to your doctor if you took ranitidine and have concerns regarding Zantac-related male breast cancer.
Zantac and Bladder Cancer Risk: Does Zantac Cause Bladder Cancer?
For several years, researchers strongly suspected that a link between ranitidine use and bladder cancer existed. New studies have now demonstrated just how significant that risk might be.
People who took the drug for three years or more faced a significantly higher risk of bladder cancer. However, even those who took Zantac for less than three years faced a 22% higher risk than people who never took the drug. Those who used it for three years or more have a 43% higher risk of developing bladder cancer.
When detected early, bladder cancer treatment has a high rate of success. Learning the symptoms of bladder cancer—which include painful urination and blood in the urine—can help you better monitor your health. Talk to your doctor about what types of cancer screenings might be appropriate for you if you previously used Zantac or ranitidine drugs.
Zantac and Uterine Cancer Risk: Does Zantac Cause Uterine Cancer?
Uterine cancer, specifically endometrial cancer, already poses a significant risk for women in the U.S. Every year, almost 70,000 women receive a uterine cancer diagnosis. More than 12,000 American women die of uterine cancer every year. Even worse, experts estimate that the rate of uterine cancer cases is increasing by about 1% per year. This cancer is especially troubling, as it presents virtually no symptoms in the early stages.
Although only observational human studies are possible today due to ethical reasons, multiple animal studies have drawn clear ties between NDMA exposure and uterine cancer.
Women should undergo annual screening for uterine cancer. If you used Zantac or a ranitidine product, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you should undergo more frequent screenings or take other measures to monitor your health.
Zantac and Prostate Cancer Risk: Does Zantac Cause Prostate Cancer?
Research has clearly linked exposure to NDMA with an increased risk of prostate cancer and mortality from prostate cancer. A 2008 study indicated that regular exposure to NDMA increased the risk of death due to prostate cancer by 140%. In that study, weekly exposure to NDMA resulted in cases of prostate cancer in five out of 15 participants. The study also noted excessive cell growth, with or without cancer, in 13 of the 15 study participants.
Some cases of prostate cancer grow particularly slowly, making it difficult to detect in the early stages. Some early symptoms of prostate cancer include painful urination and erectile dysfunction. If you took Zantac in the past, talk to a urologist regarding prostate cancer screenings.
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Zantac and Liver Cancer Risk: Does Zantac Cause Liver Cancer?
Although existing research explored exposure to NDMA through meat products, drinking water, and other sources, the results are clear. Any exposure can lead to an increased risk of liver cancer. A study from 2006 clearly stated that, just as related products in tobacco cause lung cancer, NDMA causes liver cancer.
More recent research quantified this risk and specifically linked several types of cancer to ranitidine use. A study from January of 2021 concluded that ongoing ranitidine use increased the risk of liver cancer by 264%.
Some of the most common symptoms of liver cancer include swelling and pain in the abdomen. If you formerly took Zantac, talk to your doctor about the best approach for getting screened for liver cancer.
Zantac and Gastric Cancer Risk: Does Zantac Cause Gastric Cancer?
Cancer anywhere in the gastric tract can be devastating. Unfortunately, the use of Zantac and other products containing ranitidine is linked with a significant increase in gastric cancer risk. Recent studies report that the risk of developing cancer from Zantac directly affects every facet of the human gastric system. This includes a 924% increase in pharyngeal cancer risk, a 356% increase in esophageal cancer risk, and a 148% increase in stomach cancer risk.
The symptoms of gastric cancer vary greatly, depending on which portion of the gastrointestinal tract is affected. Consult a qualified medical professional regarding the screenings you need and the steps you can take to help mitigate your risk.
Zantac and Colorectal Cancer Risk: Does Zantac Cause Colon Cancer?
Along with other portions of the gastric tract, your risk for developing colorectal cancer increases if you previously took Zantac. In fact, one study reported that ranitidine users face a 1631% increase in colorectal cancer risk. Many other studies, including non-human research, have drawn a clear link between Zantac and rectal cancer.
Most Americans are encouraged to begin colon cancer screening around age 50. However, if you used Zantac or another form of ranitidine drug, consult with your doctor about screening frequency. Catching colon cancer early provides the best hope of successful treatment.
Zantac and Infant Testicular Cancer Risk: Does Zantac Cause Fetal Cancer?
Ranitidine has been linked to incidents of testicular cancer in infants. Experts believe that the babies were exposed to NDMA in utero, when their pregnant mothers used Zantac to control heartburn. Although the risk of fetal cancer related to ranitidine is not yet fully understood, several cases have been reported.
Typically, testicular tumors in infants are benign. However, those infant tumors tied to NDMA exposure are frequently cancerous. Unless treated immediately, cancer can metastasize and spread to other parts of the baby’s body.
Symptoms of this type of cancer include testicular swelling or a lump (potentially without pain) and pain or ache in the groin or testicles.
Zantac and Other Types of Cancer
Over the years, research has linked exposure to NDMA with a variety of cancers. Unfortunately, because the FDA has banned all ranitidine drugs—and because these substances pose significant health risks—researchers have limited opportunity for conducting studies.
Besides cancer, you may develop other health problems related to NDMA exposure. Some of the most commonly reported non-cancerous illnesses include Crohn’s disease, liver disease, and pulmonary hypertension.
Because Zantac cancer symptoms can take many forms, it is important that you speak to a qualified medical professional as soon as possible if you even suspect you might have a problem.
A Brief History of the Zantac Recall
In 1981, GlaxoSmithKline (formerly Glaxo) first introduced Zantac. At that time, patients need a doctor’s prescription to obtain the medication. By the late 1980s, Zantac was the most commonly prescribed drug in the world.
Once the product became available over the counter, millions of people began using the product to treat conditions related to excess stomach acid (heartburn). Medical professionals also used ranitidine products frequently to treat patients with stomach ulcers.
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After more than 40 years on the market, research indicating a link between Zantac and various types of cancers began to emerge. In 2019, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that independent lab testing had demonstrated that ranitidine products contained the cancer-causing chemical NDMA. This prompted drug manufacturers to begin voluntary recalls. In early 2020, the FDA finally ordered a recall of all Zantac products.
Many drugs eventually prove to be harmful. When pharmaceutical companies take quick action to protect the public, they uphold their duty to protect the public. In the case of ranitidine products, however, the manufacturers may have known the risks of Zantac cancer for almost 30 years and never informed the public of those risks.
Manufacturers, including Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Chattem must be held accountable for the harm they caused by continuing to profit from products they knew could cause significant harm.
Contact a Zantac Lawsuit Lawyer
When Should You Consider a Zantac Lawsuit?
If you took ranitidine products and have concerns about your future health, talk to your doctor. You can also join in a class-action suit. A Zantac class action lawsuit attorney can explain your options and help you make the best choice for you and your future.
If you or a loved one received a cancer diagnosis after taking ranitidine—or if you suffered any other adverse health effects—you may have grounds to pursue an individual lawsuit. Talk to a Zantac lawsuit attorney as soon as possible. You need economic resources to help pay for your medical treatment. You also need compensation for your lost income and other damages.
How a Zantac Cancer Attorney Can Help
Holding the drug companies accountable for their negligence and failure to warn is important. It sends a strong message that multinational pharmaceutical companies cannot place profits over the well-being of people who use their products.
The experienced dangerous drug lawyers of Gerling Law fight to get our clients the justice and financial compensation they deserve. We have recovered more than $500 million in settlements, verdicts, and awards for our clients. These results might not reflect the outcome of your case. However, we have helped thousands of wrongfully injured people get the justice they deserve.
You could be entitled to recover compensation for your injuries, lost income, pain and suffering, and more. If you lost a loved one due to Zantac-related cancer, we can assist you in the pursuit of a wrongful death claim.
You could be entitled to compensation for the victim’s funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial support, loss of emotional support and guidance, emotional trauma, and more. Getting a settlement or award for wrongful death won’t undo the damage that was done.
However, rest assured that a victory sends a strong message to the drug companies. The economic relief that comes with a settlement or jury award can help you get through this challenging time and provide financial stability for your future.
Contact a Zantac Lawsuit Attorney Today for Help
Pursuing a Zantac lawsuit is a complex and time-consuming process. Act as quickly as possible to contact an experienced attorney who understands this complex area of the law. The dangerous drug lawyers of Gerling Law assist clients from across the country.
The statute of limitations of your state will also affect your case. Because these laws can vary, you might be running out of time to submit a claim or file a lawsuit. To ensure you get the information you need about this significant health risk, we offer a free consultation and case review.
If you trust our personal injury attorneys to handle your claim, we will be there for you every step of the way. At Gerling Law Injury Attorneys, we handle everything, so you can rest and focus on your health.
Call us at (888) 437-5464 or contact us as soon as possible to learn more about the cancer risks related to ranitidine and how our Zantac cancer attorneys can help. Remember,