In September 2019, the FDA announced the cancer risks of a popular drug called Zantac. Since then, the use of this drug was advised against, and pharmacies have stopped stocking it.
If you’ve previously taken Zantac or want more information about the risks, take a look at this helpful and comprehensive guide about the connection between Zantac and cancer.
What Is the Link Between Zantac and Cancer?
Zantac is a drug that decreases the amount of acid in the stomach. This drug was commonly used by those who suffered from occasional heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
The over-the-counter drug contained ranitidine, an ingredient that was deemed a human carcinogen. Since ranitidine is a carcinogen, ingesting a drug with this component increases the patient’s risk for cancer.
What Are the Risks of Ranitidine?
Ranitidine is carcinogenic, meaning that ingesting it increases your risk for cancer. The risk of cancer is higher for those who used Zantac long-term. These are the biggest cancer risks you should be aware of:
- Gastric Cancer
- Colorectal Cancer
- Intestinal Cancer
- Esophageal Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- Liver Cancer
If you were a long-term Zantac user, be sure to talk to your doctor and get regular cancer screenings. Additionally, Zantac users may be eligible for Zantac lawsuit compensation—learn more here.
Other Options for Heartburn Sufferers
For those who relied on Zantac, there’s good news: You have other options. Whether you need a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) or a histamine blocker, your local pharmacy has plenty of over-the-counter alternatives to Zantac.
Proton Pump Inhibitors treat heartburn flareups with a 14-day course. This option helps prevent acid from pumping acid into the stomach, which is what causes heartburn pain. This treatment is known to work the fastest out of all other treatments.
You need to take a PPI an hour before eating, so take this if you know your upcoming meal is acid-inducing. The most popular choice is omeprazole (Prilosec). Other options include esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid).
H2 blockers prevent the receptors in your stomach from making certain chemical reactions, like creating acid. This type of medicine is an alternative to PPIs and is usually advised for those who are at risk for stomach ulcers.
The most popular choice is famotidine (Pepcid). Other options include nizatidine (Axid) and cimetidine (Tagamet)
If you suffer from situational heartburn, you may benefit from a simple antacid. Antacids help soothe heartburn symptoms while you’re suffering from it, so you don’t have to worry about planning ahead. You’ll feel the effects within minutes of taking an antacid.
The most popular choice is Alka-Seltzer. Other options include Pepto-Bismol, Rolaids, and Tums.
In addition to taking heartburn medication, heartburn sufferers should consider making lifestyle changes to ease their pain. Limiting alcohol, avoiding spicy and acidic foods, and reducing your stress levels.
Now that you understand the link between Zantac and cancer, you can take the necessary steps towards switching your heartburn medication. You have plenty of over-the-counter options available to you—chat with your doctor first for guidance.
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