It has been over a year since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recalled all medications containing ranitidine, including both over-the-counter and prescription forms of Zantac. You may have taken Zantac to control your heartburn or symptoms of acid reflux. Ranitidine contains high levels of N-nitrosodimethylamine, a chemical that is a known carcinogen, or cancer-causing agent, in quantities higher than the safe limits.
Safe limits include those found naturally around you, such as in your food and water. However, the levels in Zantac were far above the safety zone. Currently, investigations have linked Zantac and its ingredient ranitidine to a variety of cancers, including cancers of the kidney, breast, thyroid and testicles. Despite this, the makers of Zantac recently announced the launch of a new version of its popular medication. Would you feel safe taking it?
What’s new about it?
Zantac was among those drugs chosen by North Carolina residents and those elsewhere who suffer the discomforts of heartburn and acid reflux because it seemingly worked faster and the results lasted longer than most other similar medications. Therefore, many were disappointed when the FDA removed the product from shelves. However, those who were already dealing with a cancer diagnosis may feel the recall was too late.
The new version of Zantac, called Zantac 360, does not contain ranitidine. It now contains famotidine, which is the same ingredient manufacturers of other heartburn medications use to make their drugs. Famotidine is in the same class of chemical as ranitidine, drugs called histamine-2 antagonist blockers. These medications block the production of acid in your stomach. Zantac 360 makers assure those who purchase their new product that it will work just as fast and last just as long as the old Zantac without the risk ranitidine provided.
Is this a victory?
Makers and distributors of Zantac may be hoping the public will forget about the dangers their product posed for millions of patients suffering from stomach ailments. It is true that many will be glad to see their favorite form of relief back on the shelves.
Sadly, many of those who trusted in the safety of the old Zantac formula have a long road of suffering ahead of them as they deal with their various forms of cancer, including prolonged and painful treatments. Others may be mourning loved ones whom they lost to cancer after taking Zantac. If you are among these, you may find it difficult to rejoice in the return of Zantac to drug store shelves.