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CVS Removes Zantac Due to Cancer Concerns

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Heads up if you take heartburn medication!

CVS Pharmacy has suspended the sale of all Zantac brand and CVS Health brand ranitidine products indefinitely.

CVS made the decision to remove these products from its shelves following a Product Alert from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA warns that ranitidine may contain low levels of nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which is a probable human carcinogen.

CVS said in a statement that this decision was made “out of an abundance of caution.” Ranitidine products have not been recalled, the FDA is not recommending that patients stop taking them, and medications containing ranitidine continue to be sold at other retailers. So far, the levels of NDMA found in ranitidine products are only slightly higher than the amounts found in common foods.

Zantac 75

CVS customers who have already purchased ranitidine products can return them to CVS for a refund. The retailer will continue to sell other over-the-counter H2 Blockers like Pepcid, Tagamet, and their generic equivalents (famotidine and cimetidine). The FDA is encouraging anyone wishing to discontinue the use of ranitidine to discuss alternative treatments with their doctor.

Stay safe with the latest product alerts and other news you need to know!

Join The Discussion

Comments 27

  1. Denise

    The FDA couldn’t figure this out years ago before allowing this medication to be prescribed by millions. Ridiculous

    • rebecca

      No they could not know in the past that a future inspection would show that an ingredient might become tainted. the inspections of the factories in the past did not turn up a problem.
      now on some recent inspections, one of the ingredients may hv become tainted with a carcinogen, so it is being recalled as a precaution until they can find out the source of the possible contamination (which factory or country has been issuing the Ranitidine that may be tainted.)
      Ranitidine that is not tainted is not a source of concern. But they cannot be sure at this time how much of the current supply is a possible problem.

  2. Simone

    This is prescribed as ‘safe’ to babies and pregnant women! Wow.

    • Court!

      Yes I took this twice a day for all my pregnancies and also gave it to two of my babies 😖

      • Jes

        Same here, two pregnancies, twice a day.

    • shop4mybabies

      my daughter who is only 15, takes this twice a day because her doctor said it’s the safest heartburn medication and didn’t want her to take the heartburn medication her previous doctor had prescribed…i’m generally not one to freak out about things and jump on band wagons but a bit scary considering our doctors, pharmaceutical industry and the FDA do not product us

  3. Megan

    I took like 20 tablets of this in my last pregnancy. I sure hope it’s not a cause of cancer!!

    • rebecca

      even if it’s a possible cause of cancer now due to being tainted, if your pregnancy was in the past, you would not have taken medicine from the boxes that may contain tainted ingredients.
      it is not the Ranitidine that is worrying inspectors or the FDA, it is the ingredient that has been traced back recently as a contaminant in Ranitidine. until they can find out where the tainted stuff is happening (which factory or manufacturer is not controlling their production process and is allowing some ingredients to become contaminated) it is being removed, since there is no way to tell which boxes have the Ranitidine that is contaminated with a carcinogen.

      • A

        Bu the fact remains that this could have started long before just recent. We don’t know how far back this goes yet.

  4. Pattie

    The recall is for over the counter Zantac and store brand Ranitidine. The recall does not apply to prescribed Zantac or Ranitidine.

  5. Jen

    My father in law had been prescribed and taken omeprazole for heartburn for years and a few months ago he was told to stop by his Dr because of cancer concerns.

  6. jessawyer

    Things like this are really hard. I take two Zantac 150 pills a day, by prescription, not OTC. They actually help for two different conditions I have and I would have serious problems if I just stopped taking them. Do I want cancer? No way! But is it a good option for me to just stop taking it when I don’t have an easy alternative and there is not enough of a significant cancer risk that has been sufficiently documented? Probably not. A lot of people across social media are harsh in their comments about this medication and want to pass quick judgment, but those comments aren’t helpful to those of us that are more reliant on it.

    • Heather

      Agreed. I’ve been on this medication for nearly 20 years for reflux (which, untreated, can also cause cancer). It’s an awful position to be in.

  7. Breanna

    I’ve been taking this twice a day during my pregnancy, I’m 34 weeks now 😣 I plan on asking my OB tomorrow if there’s any safe alternatives. I’ve also given this to my 3 year old daughter for reflux but her’s was a prescription.

    • mary_407

      I’m 20 weeks pregnant and always have terrible heartburn with my pregnancies. My midwife suggested papaya enzymes. I found it at cvs in the digestion aisle. It works really well for me I wish I would have known sooner.

      • Bex

        Yes to papaya enzymes! They taste good and work excellent for heartburn and digestive issues. Also taking a probiotic with enzymes made a big difference in lessening my heartburn while pg.

        • Lisa

          I have never heard of papaya enzymes. I will definitely look into this for my family. Thanks!

  8. Tango

    N-Nitrosodimethylamine is primarily used in laboratory research to induce tumors in experimental animals. This substance may be formed during the cooking of foods, especially cured meats and fish, that contain sodium nitrite as a preservative, but is also found in several vegetables, cheeses, alcoholic beverages and fruits, and as a contaminant in rubber products. Also found in some blood pressure meds

  9. Alexys

    The FDa allows many scary things in our food and products! Many of the ingredients are banned in other countries! The dry shampoo I was using, batiste, has PROPANE listed as an ingredient!! I started following just ingredients on Instagram, she tells you what all the ingredients in things are doing to us… it’ll make you angry and sick!!!!!

    • Miranda

      Batiste has propane because it’s in an aerosol can. It’s a liquid in the can and needs something to propel it out of the can. Do not spray near a flame. You’ll be fine otherwise.

  10. Ana

    Within the last week Italy has taken ibuprofen on the market because of its link to cancer.

  11. Rhonda

    Things that have helped my acid reflux are apples, baking soda with water, and apple cider vinegar.

  12. Lana

    The consumer must do their own research! Nobody is going to look out for like you can. We have refused to take drug after drug after researching them.

    The best cancer prevention is to keep your body alkaline. There are test strips to check your saliva. Do your own research on how to change it by your diet. Diet sodas are far worse for humans than most anything else. They make the body very acid and that is an open door for cancer

  13. Riki

    Simpler treatment for heartburn and/or indigestion: 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar (organic only) in water. This is a well known folk remedy that has been around for generations and does NOT cause cancer.

  14. Anony

    I use that same remedy after reading that what feels like acid reflux/high stomach acid can actually be caused by low stomach acid. I find that baking soda in water helps immensely too (using the heartburn directions on the side of the box).

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