Zantac cancer concerns halt shipments of generic versions of popular heartburn medication

A division of Novartis, a pharmaceutical company based in Switzerland, has halted shipments of generic versions of the heartburn medication Zantac after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced it found trace amounts of a potentially cancer-causing chemical in the product.

Sandoz, a division of Novartis, has halted the worldwide distribution of its generic version of Zantac, a popular heartburn medication.

In a statement to Fox 11, Dana Kahn Cooper, a spokesperson for Novartis, said that a “precautionary distribution stop of all Sandoz ranitidine-containing medicines in all our markets will remain in place under further clarification.”

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“This includes capsules in the USA,” she added.

Ranitidine is a drug that can treat and prevent heartburn by reducing the amount of acid the stomach produces. Ranitidine is often sold under the brand name Zantac.

A division of Novartis, a pharmaceutical company based in Switzerland, has halted shipments of generic versions of the heartburn medication Zantac after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced it found trace amounts of a potentially cancer-causing chemical in the product.

A division of Novartis, a pharmaceutical company based in Switzerland, has halted shipments of generic versions of the heartburn medication Zantac after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced it found trace amounts of a potentially cancer-causing chemical in the product. (Zantac)

Late last week, the FDA announced it had “learned that some ranitidine medicines, including some products commonly known as the brand-name drug Zantac, contain a nitrosamine impurity called N-Methylnitrosobutyric acid (NDMA) at low levels.”

NDMA, per the federal agency, is a probable human carcinogen, meaning it could cause cancer.

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That said, the FDA is not yet recommending people who take ranitidine stop the medication. More information is needed before a recall is announced or the agency recommends users to stop taking it.

“People taking OTC ranitidine could consider using other OTC medicines approved for their condition,” the agency said. “There are multiple drugs on the market that are approved for the same or similar uses as ranitidine.”

The news comes after certain blood pressure medications were recalled earlier this year after the same possible cancer-causing ingredient was detected in the tablets.