Over the past couple of weeks, the pharmaceutical and medical world have been thrown in a fiasco of confusion and frenzy. Headlines and breaking news are calling out for the emergent recall of a certain commonly used drug (Zantac), which has led consumers horrified.
The drug in question is Ranitidine (trade name Zantac), produced and manufactured by one of the leading pharmaceutical giants; GlaxoSmithKline.
In this blog, we will go over the basics and help alleviate any concerns or misconceptions, that you may have regarding this news information.
What is Zantac (Ranitidine)?
Zantac, is a commonly prescribed medication to those patients who suffer from “heartburn” or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). This drug helps to lower the production of stomach acid, the main culprit behind the symptoms of acidity and heartburn. It is also used to prevent ulcers in the stomach and intestine, leaving the constant feeling of a burning sensation in the stomach.
Why is Zantac being recalled and removed from the market?
On the 13th of September 2019, the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency, announced that there was a certain ingredient in the drug Zantac (ranitidine) likely to cause cancer. They issued an announcement stating that they were going to review and investigate the matter. They ordered a temporary hold on the production of the medicine and an immediate recall and ban of its trade in the markets world wide.
The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), following the recent findings, has ordered the instant recall of ranitidine from the market along with a ban on the manufacturing of the drug.
Can Zantac cause cancer?
Keep in mind, that Zantac is an over the counter drug, meaning; it is easily available to the general public without a doctors prescription. This has led to an increased amount of havoc and commotion as it may have a very harmful substance that can cause cancer. However, no one has gone so far as to say that Zantac can cause cancer!
What is this cancerous ingredient?
Zantac (Ranitidine) may have the presence of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). NDMA is classified as a probable human carcinogen (a substance that could cause cancer) on the basis of animal studies. NDMA is found in water and foods, including meats, dairy products, and vegetables, but is not expected to cause harm when ingested in very low minuscule levels.
A detailed, review and analysis will reveal, how much of this ingredient is present in the medicine.
What should you do if you take this medicine?
Physicians are advising and urging patients to not discontinue the medication immediately, as there are no acute risks involved.
However, they also emphasise that those patients, who are buying the medicine over the counter, should opt for alternatives. And those who are taking the medicine via prescription should contact their respective healthcare providers for alternatives.
Guest Credits: Dr Hira Rehman