Meijer, Walmart, CVS Stop Selling Zantac Due to Possible Contamination
Meijer is the latest retailer to stop selling Zantac and other over-the-counter heartburn medications containing ranitidine, due to contamination concerns.
Walmart, Meijer, Walgreens, and CVS have also pulled those products from their shelves after U.S. Food and Drug Administration analysis that showed low levels of a potentially cancer causing chemical in the drug, MLive reports.
In September the FDA released a statement:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has learned that some ranitidine medicines, including some products commonly known as the brand-name drug Zantac, contain a nitrosamine impurity called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) at low levels. NDMA is classified as a probable human carcinogen (a substance that could cause cancer) based on results from laboratory tests. NDMA is a known environmental contaminant and found in water and foods, including meats, dairy products, and vegetables."
NDMA is the same chemical that's been linked to recalls of prescription blood pressure drugs recently.
According to TIME, even though the FDA's findings of NDMA in Zantac products "barely exceeds levels found in common foods such as meats, dairy products and chemicals... the warning has led some pharmacies and manufacturers to stop selling drugs containing Zantac’s active ingredient, ranitidine."
So if you currently take Zantac or a generic drug containing ranitidine, what do you do?
The FDA says they are not calling for individuals to stop taking their heartburn medications:
The FDA is not calling for individuals to stop taking ranitidine at this time; however, patients taking prescription ranitidine who wish to discontinue use should talk to their health care professional about other treatment options. People taking OTC ranitidine could consider using other OTC medicines approved for their condition. There are multiple drugs on the market that are approved for the same or similar uses as ranitidine."