Zantac (ranitidine) is a common drug that is widely used in the treatment and prevention of heartburn and ulcers in the stomach and the small intestine. Since the 1980s, millions of people across the United States and the rest of the world have been using the drug to treat acid reflux.
As part of the H2 (histamine-2) group of drugs, Zantac has for many years been available in both prescription and over-the-counter products. However, concerns have recently surfaced regarding the potentially carcinogenic effects of a chemical contaminant that has been found in Zantac produced. This has opened the door for a potentially massive class-action suit against the producers of Zantac.
So, does Zantac really cause cancer, and what should you do if you think that taking it has caused you to become ill? The experienced defective product lawyers at Rutter Mills in Virginia have provided an extensive list of possible cancers caused by the overuse of ranitidine.
What Does the FDA Say About Zantac?
The Food and Drug Administration urged the urgent recall of four prescription-only forms of Zantac in fall last year. Made by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, as well as by many other major pharmaceutical companies, the drug was immediately taken off the market when unacceptably high levels of a cancer-causing contaminant were discovered in Zantac produced by almost every brand. The decision was made when traces of harmful N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) were found to be present in the drug.
How Might Zantac Damage My Health?
Additional research is still needed, but there is now a wide consensus among medical professionals that taking Zantac in high concentrations over a prolonged period of time increases your risk of cancer due to its contamination with NDMA. The most common type of cancer known to be caused by Zantac is colorectal cancer. However, NDMA is also known to contribute to a number of other cancers, among which are:
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Multiple myeloma
People who have a family history of colon cancer are considered to be especially at risk of developing colorectal or gastric cancer as a result of taking Zantac. People of African-American heritage are also considered to be at increased risk.
What Are the Cancer Signs and Symptoms to Look Out for
Most global health organizations today accept that NDMA can cause colorectal cancer in humans when consumed in large amounts over a long period of time. As a result, we recommend that you organize a check-up with your physician if you have been taking Zantac over many years to treat your acid-reflux or heartburn symptoms.
As well as being tested for colorectal cancer, it is wise to ask your doctor to perform a screening for gastric cancer as well, if only as a precautionary measure. This check-up is even more important if you are experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms that are commonly associated with colorectal cancer:
- Sudden changes in stool (e.g. constipation/diarrhea)
- Blood in stool and anemia related to loss of blood
- Abnormal bloated feeling and/or a feeling of fullness in the get even after defecating
- Cramps or pains in the gut and/or excessive gas
- Weight loss
- Weakness or fatigue
Testing Options for Detecting Cancer Caused By Zantac
If you have been taking Zantac for an extended period of time, your doctor will probably recommend that you undergo some rounds of preventive testing, even if you are feeling otherwise healthy. If your cancer is detected early, you will increase your chances of recovery by a significant margin. What follows is a list of testing options that are used in the detection of colorectal cancer:
MRI: If you are exhibiting any of the symptoms mentioned in the previous section, you may be required to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. This is the most effective means of detecting colon cancer.
Blood Tests: Blood tests are a fairly accurate, non-invasive method of screening for colon cancer. They check for a chemical known as carcinoembryonic antigen or CEA which is present when colon cancer is also present.
Biopsy: If either of the two tests turn up positive results, your doctor will then book you in for a biopsy. During this procedure, a minor surgery is performed to enter the colon and remove a small piece, which is then sent away to a laboratory for analysis.
CT Scan: Patients that have already been diagnosed with colorectal cancer are required to undergo a CT scan to determine where the cancer has metastasized and spread to other parts of the body.
If any of the tests above turn out positive results, a patient will then undergo medical cancer therapy and/or surgery to remove the tumor(s) as soon as possible.
What Should I Do If I Have Cancer That I Think May Be Caused By Taking Zantac?
If you have any of the cancers mentioned in the previous sections, and you have been taking Zantac for an extended period of time, there is a good chance that you may be able to make a claim for compensation. As we speak, there are currently thousands of Zantac lawsuits that have been brought against the producers of Zantac by plaintiffs who have evidence that the drug has caused them to develop cancer. There is speculation that this lawsuit may force drug companies to pay out many billions of dollars in settlements to people who have been harmed by Zantac.
The first thing to do if you feel that your cancer may have resulted from taking Zantac is to contact an attorney who specializes in dangerous drug and medication cases. A law firm that has experience in this area will be sensitive to your situation. It will understand the emotional and physical strain that you are under, leaving no stone unturned to get a settlement that is amenable to your case. In most cases, such firms will operate on a no-win, no-fee basis, so get in touch today to see what they can do for you.