Ranitidine has been receiving all kinds of negative attention in the press lately, and with good reason. It has been shown to increase consumers’ risk of developing both cancer and serious kidney disease. Read on to find out about the dangers associated with this common drug.
What Is Ranitidine?
Ranitidine is the primary ingredient in many prescription and over-the-counter prescription acid reflux and heartburn drugs, including Zantac and its generic forms. Ranitidine is not the only substance used to treat these common problems, but it is one of the most popular of them.
Around 15 million Americans receive prescriptions for Zantac, alone, and millions more take over-the-counter drugs or other prescription medications that contain ranitidine. It should thus come as no surprise that both ranitidine cancer and increased prevalence of kidney disease are receiving plenty of attention now that researchers have made the connection.
Increased Risk of Kidney Cancer
In 2019, pharmaceutical lab tests showed that Zantac and other drugs that contain ranitidine produced dangerous levels of a carcinogen known as N-Nitrosodimethylamine, commonly referred to as NDMA. NDMA is a known animal carcinogen and a probable human carcinogen that can increase the risk of developing kidney cancer. It can also increase the risk of developing many other forms of cancer.
The reason the connection between ranitidine and kidney cancer, in particular, has received so much attention is that prior to the release of the 2019 study and these medications’ subsequent recalls, most doctors and scientists believed ranitidine-containing heartburn medications to be relatively safe. They were touted as a safer alternative to proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), a second class of drugs used to treat heartburn and acid reflux.
The dangers of PPIs, namely that they cause both acute and chronic kidney damage, have been known to the public for longer than those associated with ranitidine, and many doctors used to recommend drugs like Zantac as an alternative to patients with preexisting kidney problems. The increased awareness of cancer risks associated with ranitidine has changed all that.
What Should Patients Do?
Patients who have been taking either PPIs or ranitidine-containing drugs should speak with their doctors immediately about making changes to their treatment plans. Thankfully, most of the 15 million or more Americans who were prescribed antacids prior to these recent discoveries regarding their hidden risks don’t actually need them. One-quarter of long-term users should be able to stop their medication use without any adverse effect on their underlying health.
Those who have already suffered as a result of taking dangerous acid reflux medications often need more advanced medical care to help them deal with the consequences of their medication use. Zantac patients may require cancer treatment, and those who took PPIs often need dialysis or kidney transplants. Speak with a product liability lawyer about getting compensation for the hospital bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering associated with treatment for medical complications from these drugs.
Get Help Now
A product liability lawyer can help his or her clients prove that they took a dangerous drug and developed kidney problems as a result. The lawyer will also have to prove the connection between the two events, so it’s important to find one with experience working with other patients who have been harmed by ranitidine or PPIs. Schedule a consultation as soon as possible to discuss options.