Zantac is used as an antacid to treat gastrointestinal problems. The problems include acid reflux, heartburn, and high acid formation in your stomach. A generic dose is recommended as 10 mg/day, but your general physician might suggest a different use according to your gastrointestinal problems.
People around the US and the world over have used the over-the-counter drug regularly for years until 2019. Since late 2019, Zantac has been called back by the orders of the FDA because of a probable link between Zantac and cancer, including pancreatic cancer from Zantac use.
Even in the absence of these claims and allegations, your pancreas may see a dive in its functionality after prolonged use of Zantac in any case, as had been documented before the FDA recall.
Let’s discuss and see what’s the truth behind the Zantac and pancreatic cancer links. Keep reading.
Zantac And Pancreatic Cancer
Ranitidine was licensed for over-the-counter usage in 2004 and was previously offered under the brand names Zantac, private label, and generic medicines.
N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) was discovered in ranitidine samples in 2019, prompting the FDA to warn the public about the dangers of NDMA exposure, including cancer.
The FDA has shown that NDMA levels in ranitidine rise under normal storage circumstances and rise dramatically when exposed to higher temperatures, such as those encountered during distribution and handling. They also discovered that the higher the amounts of NDMA in a ranitidine product, the older it is or longer it has been manufactured.
Hundreds of lawsuits have been brought against Zantac drugmakers for neglecting to alert manufacturers, pharmacists, and the broader population about the heartburn medication’s possible relation to cancer. Sanofi and Valsartan are two pharmaceutical companies named in the Zantac litigation.
NDMA in Zantac
In humans, high amounts of the cancer-causing chemical N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) can raise cancer risk. People who take Zantac long-term may be at risk of developing pancreatic cancer and other cancers because the medicine has been reported to cause significant levels of NDMA once consumed.
To create NDMA, the Zantac(ranitidine) molecule contains both the nitrite (N) and dimethylamine (DMA) components. Ranitidine has nitrite and dimethylamine in its chemical composition, making it particularly capable of producing NDMA in the right conditions.
When ranitidine is consumed, it can cause the body to break down and produce a lot of NDMA. Although NDMA is not an active element in Zantac, taking it regularly may cause the body to produce significant levels of the carcinogen over time.
Because NDMA exposure is often modest, researchers have yet to establish a direct link between Zantac use and the development of pancreatic cancer or other cancers. While there are a variety of negative effects associated with Zantac, an elevated risk of cancer was not originally one of them.
Long-term usage of Zantac, on the other hand, may expose a person to NDMA exposure, which may increase their risk of cancer or other health problems.
Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms
Anyone who feels they may be experiencing pancreatic cancer symptoms should consult their doctor immediately to see if they should be examined. Symptoms vary from person to person, and in the early stages of pancreatic cancer, there may be no symptoms at all.
Pancreatic cancer can cause the following symptoms
- Dark urine color
- Stools that are light-colored or appear greasy
- Extremely itchy skin
- Back or abdominal discomfort
- Weight loss
- Insufficient appetite
- Vomiting or nausea-like feeling
It’s not necessary to experience one or more of these symptoms to have pancreatic cancer. Each symptom could be the result of a separate problem. As a result, it’s critical to consult with your primary care provider as soon as possible.
Are Zantac Substitutes Also Unsafe?
No, this is not true. Only medications that have ranitidine and NDMA as active agents are under investigation. Several antacids that are alkaline-based can preferably be used instead of Zantac and any other ranitidine medications.
There are clear signs of the Zantac being not a reputed medicine for your gastrointestinal problems. They are under FDA investigation. All the pharmaceutical companies have recalled the drug to test it for more than admissible amounts of probable carcinogen advised by the FDA and other regulating agencies.
One needs to ask their physicians to suggest them a different set of antacids as ranitidine is not a clear option. At the same time, we cannot say for sure if Zantac is directly linked with pancreatic cancer, as no conclusion has been drawn by the medical community yet.