Different heartburn medications that contains harmful chemicals
For those who suffer from acid reflux or heartburn, heartburn medications can dramatically improve quality of life. However, many of these medications also come with hidden risks. Read on to find out about the harmful chemicals found in certain heartburn medications and what to do after being exposed.
Cancer-Causing Chemicals Found in Ranitidine
Ranitidine, the primary ingredient in Zantac and generic versions of this popular heartburn medication, was recently determined by the FDA to contain a dangerous carcinogen. This fact was uncovered in September 2019, but many consumers still don’t realize that zantac is linked to cancer. Since the initial discovery of N-nitrodimethylamine (NDMA) in ranitidine, many manufacturers have voluntarily recalled their products.
What About Other Heartburn Drugs?
The voluntary recalls on heartburn drugs are not limited to Zantac, nor did they all occur immediately after the link between ranitidine and NDMA was discovered. In 2020, two more generic drug manufacturers recalled their products for unacceptable levels of this dangerous carcinogen. Appco Pharma and Northwind Pharmaceuticals joined 12 other manufacturers of ranitidine-containing heartburn medications in issuing voluntary recalls.
Other Types of Heartburn Medications
Ranitidine is not the only ingredient used to treat heartburn. Unfortunately, it also is not the only drug known to cause potentially severe health complications. Patients who are prescribed proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), sold under the brand names Prevacid, Prilosec, and others, may also be unwittingly consuming potentially dangerous chemicals.
As far as researchers know, PPIs do not cause cancer. There is, however, a proven link between PPI use and kidney problems. Researchers have known that PPIs can cause acute kidney injuries and even acute hepatitis since roughly 2016. However, new information about the long-term effects of these drugs didn’t come out until last year.
To make matters even more complicated, the damage done by PPIs can be gradual and silent. Over time, these drugs erode kidney function and lead to long-term damage. Some patients have even wound up on dialysis as a result of renal failure.
Not everyone who is prescribed a PPI will develop kidney failure. However, doctors now know that they must pay strict attention to their patients’ kidney health after prescribing these drugs, even if there aren’t any overt signs of problems. Contemporary standards indicate these drugs should only be prescribed when they are medically necessary.
Are There Safer Alternatives?
If PPIs are out of the running for anyone at a high risk of developing kidney problems, and Zantac and its generics have been pulled from the market due to increased cancer risks, what should those suffering from severe heartburn or acid reflux do? The answer is simple: consult a primary care physician or a specialist. There are some H2 medications made using ranitidine that have been shown to contain no NDMA.
It’s also relevant to note that, out of the 15 million Americans prescribed heartburn medications, only one-fourth actually need them. The vast majority of consumers can stop taking over-the-counter or prescription heartburn drugs without experiencing any adverse effects. Be sure to ask a doctor whether the medication is truly medically necessary and worth the risks.
ady taken Zantac or one of its generics and been diagnosed with cancer? The next step is to find an attorney who can help. Consumers affected by these dangerous drugs may be entitled to compensation.