The Safety Of Zantac And Ranitidine Heartburn Pills

October 2, 2019

© Dmitriy Shironosov | Dreamstime


CVS announced that it is removing the popular heartburn medication, Zantac and its store-brand cousins, from its shelves. While Rite-Aid, Walmart and Walgreens have also pulled their store-brands of the medication, the CVS move is the first that includes the name-brand. Last month the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the active ingredient in the pill, ranitidine, contains small amounts of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a carcinogen. NDMA has recently surfaced as the reason many blood pressure medications have been recalled. However in those cases, NDMA was a contaminant introduced during manufacturing (more of that topic in a moment). But when it comes to heartburn medication, the problem seems to be that ranitidine itself can release NDMA after it interacts with enzymes in our body. The FDA is currently working with manufacturers to do further testing. But what isn't in the news headlines is that NDMA isn’t just found in drugs; it exists in the world around us, including in our food and water. It is formed unintentionally during some manufacturing processes, but it also occurs naturally. It’s in water. It’s in air. But it’s not a big deal because we’re never exposed to very much of it. Although NDMA may cause harm in large amounts, the levels the FDA is finding in ranitidine from preliminary tests barely exceed amounts you might expect to find in common foods. That means you have to make a judgment call about whether to continue taking Zantac and it’s generic. If you really love your ranitidine, and no other brand works well for you, you may decide to keep taking it. So far, the FDA thinks that’s fine as thee has been no recall. Just remember to consult your doctor first if you are taking ranitidine to manage your digestive issues. You can also ask your Pharmacist for recommendations of other OTC heartburn relief medications that do not contain ranitidine.

SOURCE: Vitals

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