In recent years Zantac has been at the forefront of a lot of controversies. Despite being known as one of the most widely used medications in the entirety of the United States, Zantac and its sister medications have found themselves entwined in many lawsuits.
In fact, there have been a plethora of independent laboratory tests carried out on them and it has been discovered extremely high levels of cancer-causing chemicals.
In this article, we are going to take a very close look at Zantac and its generic versions and the dangers they pose. We will then look closely at some of the legal ramifications connected to the drugs.
What Is Zantac?
Well, we should first get to understand that Zantac is a brand name; the medication itself is called Ranitidine. Ranitidine is primarily used to treat problems with the stomach or digestive system.
Zantac can be prescribed for conditions like Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease, upper gastrointestinal bleeding, erosive esophagitis, heartburn and other conditions where the stomach may be producing too much acid.
Zantac is used from time to time in the prevention of stress ulcers, stomach damage caused by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and the aspiration of stomach acid during anaesthesia.
Zantac sits within a class of drugs known as H2 blockers. H2 blockers, block stomach acid production. You can get Zantac via prescription or over the counter.
History and Background of Zantac
Ranitidine was introduced four years before the brand name Zantac found its way to the shelves and was developed by Glaxo, now known as GlaxoSmithKline. The development was originally put into place in a stretched effort to match the success of Smith, Kline and French’s Cimetidine.
Cimetidine was in fact, the first histamine H2-receptor but Glaxo built on the chemistry of this drug and developed Ranitidine. Ranitidine was found to have a far-improved profile when it came to tolerability.
From its introduction in 1981, Ranitidine went on to become the world’s biggest-selling prescription drug in just under seven years.
Zantac Warnings and Side Effects
While being incredibly popular, Zantac still comes with a great deal of warning attached to it, and these are just the warnings mentioned on the label.
Zantac may increase the risk you have of developing pneumonia. There are, however, many other side effects connected with Zantac and here are a few of the common ones:
- Diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, stomach pain and vomiting
- Decreased sex drive
- Tender breasts
While these symptoms may seem to be standard with prescription medications, there are also some more severe side effects to be mindful of:
- Dark urine
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Unusual weakness
- Vision problems
- Yellowing of the eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Slow or fast heartbeat
- Headaches with a severe blistering and peeling rash.
Zantac and The FDA
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently issued a statement. The statements intention was to alert doctors and patients that there had been unacceptable levels of NDMA found in samples of Ranitidine.
NDMA or N-Nitrosodimethylamine has been classified as a carcinogen by many organizations. These organizations include the Environmental Protection Agency, FDA and the World Health Organization. Most studies carried out link high levels of NDMA to many types of cancer.
In addition to the testing carried out by the FDA, there have been numerous independent laboratory tests carried out. These test all returned the same conclusion, and this was extremely high levels of NDMA in every tested lot.
One laboratory also added that in conditions similar to that of the stomach of a human, the NDMA quantity was 3,171 times more than what can be ingested safely. The laboratory then went on to conclude that it was their belief that the NDMA was due to an instability of the Ranitidine molecule.
In 2019 the FDA released an announcement that we have already touched upon in the previous section. In response to this announcement, retailers such as Walgreens and CVS pulled both the prescription Zantac and the over the counter Zantac from the shelves.
Makers of generic Ranitidine such as Sandoz, GlaxoSmithKline and Apotex recalled their Ranitidine hydrochloride products.
In October 2019 Sanofi also announced a massive recall of Zantac across the United States and Canada. As of today, at least 23 countries have either recalled or completely banned Ranitidine, and many other countries have issued official warnings.
What is NDMA?
NDMA is a chemical that can be found both naturally and industrially. Officially it’s classified as a probable carcinogen. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, NDMA has specific interactions that have been shown to modify DNA.
NDMA is one of the many compounds involved in curing meat, and everybody is aware of the risks of cancer when eating cured meats. In addition to cured meats, there are many ways you can be exposed to NDMA such as chewing tobacco, tobacco smoke, cheese, beer and even items such as shampoo and detergent.
Unbelievable, this is not the first case that has come to fruition due to high levels of NDMA is a pharmaceutical product. In 2018 NDMA was found in a blood pressure medication called Valsartan. The FDA deemed the NDMA level unacceptable, and many lots of the drugs were recalled.
When it comes to industrial processes, NDMA is primarily used in aviation. You will generally find very high levels in rocket fuel. NDMA is also a by-product of several industrial processes such as treatment of water waste that contains nitrogen and even in the refining of gasoline.
Under EPCRA (Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-know Act 1986), NDMA has the official classification of being extremely hazardous. Because of this, there are very stringent requirements when it comes to reporting for companies who produce or store the substance in notable amounts.
NDMA Complications and Symptoms
While NDMA may have cancer-causing qualities, its dangers do not stop there. NDMA is also a potent hepatotoxin.
Even short term exposure to NDMA can result in liver fibrosis and scarring. When long-term exposure is looked at, there are risks of lung, liver and kidney tumours developing.
Many symptoms are attributed to NDMA overexposure such as nausea, headaches, fever, jaundice, abdominal cramps, reduced liver functions, dizziness and even an enlarged liver.
There have been many links over the years between Zantac and the following problems:
- B-12 Deficiency
- Hair loss
- Liver failure
- Low platelet count
- Nervous System disorders
Zantac has also been connected with many different forms of cancer such as bladder cancer, prostate cancer, intestinal cancer, liver cancer, thyroid cancer, ovarian cancer and testicular cancer.
Potential Zantac Risks
As we have seen, Zantac users have over the years been exposed to dangerously high levels of NDMA.
So there can be no doubt out there that there are many potential risks that can be associated with the prolonged use of Zantac. It is essential to recognize that NDMA not only has the potential to cause cancer, it also functions as a poison.
If you have been taking Zantac, you have been at risk of many types of cancer and also a considerable amount of risk to your liver.
Over the past year, there has been a rise in the number of cases that are coming up due to not only cancer related to Zantac but to the level of risk that people have been exposed to.
What Is A Zantac Lawsuit?
Zantac, as we have mentioned, has been one of the most successful drugs on the planet and was used by millions of people daily. The recent discovery of large amounts of NDMA in Zantac means that millions of people may have been exposed to large amounts of a toxic carcinogen whenever they used the product.
What seems to raise more profound concern is that the drug companies that worked on the development and manufacture of Zantac either knew or should have been aware of the levels of NDMA.
Sanofi (the manufacturers on Zantac) and many other companies are now facing colossal liability claims from hundreds of thousands of possible claimants.
The first class-action lawsuit has already been filed against Sanofi, and there are many more in process. It is only a matter of time before the numbers start to hit the thousands.
Who Could File A Lawsuit?
There are many people out there that may have a case but do not realize it. If you have used Zantac for prolonged periods of time and have received a diagnosis of any of the following:
- Liver Failure
- Liver Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Esophageal Cancer
- Uterine Cancer
- Small Intestine Cancer
- Testicular Cancer
- Colorectal Cancer
Then you should seek legal advice. Many researchers think that confirmation will eventually come that finds NDMA exposure can be linked to all cancers.
What Is The Value Of Settlement When It Comes To Zantac Cancer Claims?
When it comes to litigation, it is evident that people will want to know the settlement value of a Zantac cancer claim. If you or somebody you love has had to suffer the horrible torment that is cancer, knowing what the compensation will be is essential.
It is essential to remember, though, just because you want to know how much the claim could be worth, does not mean you are greedy. The trouble with claims of this nature is that there is just no telling what the award will be.
If your case makes it to trial, the value of the settlement would be higher than if you are part of a global settlement offer.
Known Zantac Lawsuits
As briefly mentioned earlier, the first few product liability lawsuits have already been entered against Sanofi and also Boehringer. Boehringer owned the rights to sell Zantac in the United States from October 2006 through to 2017. The cases against Zantac at this moment in time are categorized thusly.
- Cancer Cases
- Consumer Class Action Cases
Plaintiffs if the following cases regularly used Zantac and were diagnosed with specific types of cancer that can be connected very closely to NDMA ingestion.
Kerzer Vs. Sanofi: This case filed in October 2019 was the first of the claims against Sanofi concerning Zantac and its cancer-causing properties. The Plaintiff regularly used Zantac between the years of 1985 and 2019. During these years, the plaintiff took Zantac up to 5 times per week. It is the claim of the plaintiff that the quantity of NDMA in the Zantac eventually resulted in him developing kidney cancer in 2017.
Blake Vs. Boehringer: The most recent of the Zantac cancer claims were made on the 21st October 2019. The claim has been filed in federal court in Denver. In this case, the plaintiff took Zantac up to 3 times per week over a period of 23 years. The plaintiff claims that the levels of NDMA found in Zantac were responsible for the diagnosis of his bladder cancer.
Consumer Class Action Cases
The plaintiff involved in this consumer class action case did not have any injury in relation to Zantac, nor did they have a cancer diagnosis. In this case, the plaintiff has brought a claim on behalf of all users of Zantac for the alleged violation of various consumer laws.
Dimesky Vs. Sanofi: This is the first consumer class action case that has been brought forward, and the allegations of the case are being copied for subsequent cases. The plaintiffs in question are from Connecticut and Florida, both of which were regular users of Zantac. The objective of the plaintiffs is to represent a class of users in both Connecticut and Florida. The filed complaint states that the plaintiffs nor the people that represent would have purchased or used Zantac if they were aware of the NDMA. The complaint filed states violation of Connecticut and Florida consumer protection laws for fraudulent concealment. The case seeks expenses and damages brought by all class members (users of Zantac in both states).