Walgreens and CVS have pulled the very popular heartburn medicine Zantac, along with their generic versions, from store shelves after the FDA warned they had found a cancer-causing drug among its ingredients.
The nitrosamine impurity known as N-nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA, has been classified as a probable human carcinogen based on lab tests, and this isn't the first time that it has been detected in a common medication.
Since last year, the FDA has been investigating NDMA and other impurities in blood pressure and heart failure medicines known as angiotensin receptor blockers or ARBs. Numerous recalls have been launched as the FDA found "unacceptable levels" of nitrosamines in several of those common drugs containing valsartan.
A study published last year in the medical journal BMJ found no "markedly increased short term overall risk of cancer" among users of the valsartan drugs contaminated with NDMA. Yet that study also noted that research into long-term cancer risk is needed.
Customers can return their Zantac purchases to either store for a refund.
Drugstores are pulling Zantac-like heartburn drugs off the shelves over potential cancer risk (Washington Post) (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)