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Four Different Medicines Test Positive For High Levels Of A Carcinogen

It is looking less likely that Zantac ranitidine is alone in breaking down to cause cancer

Wednesday, August 11, 2021 - Zantac cancer plaintiffs that have filed a claim against Sanofi may have a steeper hill to climb if they claim that Zantac ranitidine organically breaks down to become N-nitrosdimethylamine (NDMA), a natural carcinogenic molecule. Drugs to help quit smoking have joined those that fight high blood pressure, relieve heartburn pain, and treat diabetes in testing for higher than allowable levels of NDMA, a known carcinogen. Drugmaker Pfizer recently reported that their best-selling stop-smoking drug Chantix (varenicline) has tested positive for elevated levels of carcinogenic nitrosamines. The amounts of NDMA exceed the 96 nanograms per tablet that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) thinks is safe. The revelation shocked experts who had been coming to grips with NDMA being a Zantac ranitidine-only problem. The Pfizer NDMA discovery joins others forms of medicine like high blood pressure and type-2 diabetes medicine in testing for higher than normal levels of NDMA. Regardless, Sanofi, the maker of Zantac, knew or should have known that their product caused cancer. Thousands of former Zantac users have filed Zantac cancer lawsuits accusing the company of fraud and negligence by failing to warn users that the drug was carcinogenic. Lawsuits using the same logic may follow the makers of Valsarting blood pressure and metformin diabetes medicine. A judge presiding over the Zantac cancer trials in MDL has decided that generic manufacturers of ranitidine are protected from fraud and negligence lawsuits.

Experts differentiate between drugs taken regularly, sometimes two or three times per day, every day, in perpetuity, and those like Chantix taken for relatively short periods. There is no definitive answer to the question of how long and how much NDMA must be ingested to cause cancer. Medical researchers think that taking Chantix may still be safe regardless of the amount of NDMA in it, and Pfizer has refused to recall Chantix voluntarily. MedPageToday writes, "(Concerning) varenicline -- a drug that, unlike ARBs, antacids, or metformin, is not taken indefinitely -- the FDA emphasized that patients should not stop taking the drugs even if they come from the recalled lots until they can obtain safer replacements. The health benefits of stopping smoking outweigh the cancer risk from the nitrosamine impurity in varenicline," the agency said. The number of antacid cancer lawsuits are certain to outpace those from other medications like Chantix.

Carcinogenic levels of nitrosomine were publicized when online prescription drug testing pharmacy Valisure discovered levels of NDMA in the millions of nanograms per tablet in Zantac and later in all other ranitidine tablets they tested. The company alleges that ranitidine is unstable and naturally breaks down when exposed to high temperatures or the conditions of the human digestive system. That may or may not be the case but the same can be said of other medicine tablets making a person think that the problem of elevated levels of NDMA could be due to Valisure's method of heating medicines to high temperatures when checking for impurities.

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OnderLaw, LLC is a St. Louis personal injury law firm handling serious injury and death claims across the country. Its mission is the pursuit of justice, no matter how complex the case or strenuous the effort. The Onder Law Firm has represented clients throughout the United States in pharmaceutical and medical device litigation such as Pradaxa, Lexapro and Yasmin/Yaz, where the firm's attorneys held significant leadership roles in the litigation, as well as Actos, DePuy, Risperdal and others. The Onder Law Firm has won more than $300 million in four talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits in St. Louis. Law firms throughout the nation often seek its experience and expertise on complex litigation.

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