It’s official: the answer to the above question is ‘perhaps’.
CVS, America’s largest pharmacy chain has pulled Zantac, the popular heartburn drug from its shelves. Why? There are concerns that it could contain cancer-causing components.
The store has also removed its own generic brand of the medication.
The ingredient in the spotlight causing concern is called ranitidine. Earlier this September, the U.S Food and Drug Administration reported learning that some types of ranitidine contain low levels of a substance that could be cancer-causing. It’s called nitrosamine, and it’s an impurity known as N-nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA. This has been classified as a probable human carcinogen after significant lab tests that turned up scientific results.
It’s important to know that Zantac and the generic alternatives haven’t been recalled. CVS’s actions are entirely voluntary. And while some scientific work has found NDMA to be cancer causing, other studies, however, haven’t discovered this. Studies on the effects of being exposed to the impurity over a long period of time haven’t yet been done, in relation to cancer risks.
According to the FDA, NDMA is a known environmental contaminant. It’s present in some water and foods, including everything from meats, to dairy products and vegetables.
At the moment, many patients are taking prescription ranitidine to treat and prevent stomach ulcers of the stomach, and gastroesophageal reflux disease.
According to CVS, customers who have purchased Zantac or its alternative at one of their stores, can return it for a refund.
For more details on this issue, visit the FDA’s website by clicking here.