Zantac Victims Have Options

October 6, 2021 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Zantac Victims Have Options If you took Zantac to relieve your heartburn or GERD, you may worry about the latest FDA recalls and its link to cancer. Rightfully so! Zantac has been shown to contain high levels of the toxic NDMA and studies have linked it to a higher risk fo developing a variety of Zantac cancers. Individuals who took Zantac (ranitidine) may wish to change to an alternative drug to avoid potential health risks. Fortunately, there are Zantac options on the market that can help treat your symptoms without the risk of developing cancer. Not all Zantac options are the same, however. As such, you should discuss your medical treatment plan with your doctor to determine which of these Zantac options is right for you. Do not take over-the-counter Zantac options without first consulting with your doctor to make sure you are getting the relief you deserve. The next step you should take is to monitor your health closely for signs of Zantac cancers. If you are diagnosed with cancer, and you believe Zantac is to blame, your next step should be to contact an experienced and skilled Zantac cancer lawyer to learn more about participating in multi-district litigation that is pending. You may also find that you can file an individual claim against the manufacturers for the harm they've caused. An experienced Zantac lawsuit lawyer can help you explore all your legal options so you can choose the one that is best for you!

What is Zantac?

Drug company GlaxoSmithKline developed Zantac, which first entered the consumer drug market in the 1980s. GlaxoSmithKline advertised it as a fast-acting antipeptide that relieves heartburn in as little as 30 minutes. It primarily works by blocking the H2 in the body, which in turn reduces stomach acid production. Most individuals take Zantac or the generic (ranitidine) to treat a variety of health issues, including:
  • Heartburn
  • Ulcers
  • GERD
  • Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome
  • Stomach and esophageal problems
The known side effects of the drug were relatively minor, such as constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting. Zantac, known generically as ranitidine, was sold around the world with the pharmaceutical company Sanofi marketing the drug in the United States. Over-the-counter versions became some of the world's best-selling medicines, netting nearly $1 billion in annual sales. Doctors wrote an astonishing 25 million prescriptions for the drug in 2018, according to Bloomberg.

Zantac Recall and Cancers

Zantac seemed to be a pharmaceutical golden goose until an online pharmacy made an alarming discovery. Valisure, a Connecticut-based company, revealed that it found substantial amounts of Nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA, in both Zantac and its generic versions. NDMA is a known carcinogen that causes cancers of the liver, bladder, and colon. The FDA says that the recommended daily limit of NDMA is only 96 ng in humans. Some Zantac on shelves were found to contain up to 3,000,000 ng per tablet alone. This substantially increased the risk of developing cancers. Valisure informed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which, after further analysis, ordered pharmaceutical manufacturers to pull all ranitidine-based drugs off the market, citing a risk to public health. Soon afterward, the largest retail pharmacies, including Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid, began to pull Zantac and all related products off their shelves. Zantac usage and high levels of NDMA is shown to increase the risk of developing serious cancers, including bladder, stomach, breast, and liver cancers.

Pharmaceutical Zantac Options

There's no denying the benefits Zantac provided to millions of people around the world. In addition to mitigating the effects of heartburn, the drug also prevented duodenal and gastric ulcers. Since the drug's recall, many previous Zantac users are seeking alternatives. This is more challenging than it might seem considering the many antacids on the market, and how few provide the same relief as quickly as Zantac. However, ex-Zantac users have a few alternatives available to them, including:
  • Prilosec (omeprazole)
  • Pepcid (famotidine)
  • Nexium (esomeprazole)
  • Prevacid (lansoprazole)
  • Tagamet (cimetidine)

Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid

These drugs are known as Proton Pump Inhibitors for the way they prevent stomach acid from accumulating. Like Zantac, they prevent heartburn rather than simply reducing the discomfort it causes. These drugs also treat many of the same conditions as Zantac, including gastric ulcers, bacterial infections, and erosive esophagitis. However, these drugs are different in a few important ways. First, they take longer to work. Patients usually don't see results for at least a day. However, although they take longer to start working, they generally last longer than Zantac, controlling symptoms for 24 hours as opposed to 12 hours. There is no noticeable difference in terms of side effects, with Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid also causing constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and headaches. Of course, the most important distinction is that the above drugs are not ranitidine-based and do not contain NDMA. Therefore, they pose no known cancer risks.

Pepcid and Tagamet

Like Zantac, these drugs are H2 blockers. They prevent acid reflux in a similar way to Zantac by preventing the buildup of excess acid in the stomach. Also, like Zantac, they act fast and may provide relief in as little as 30 minutes. However, they may not have the same longevity as other antacids, with their effects dissipating in less than 12 hours. These drugs tend to have more side effects than other similar drugs, although severe reactions remain rare. Users should be aware of headaches, diarrhea, dizziness, rash, and gynecomastia.

Non-Pharmaceutical Zantac Options

Not every health issue requires a prescription or over-the-counter medication to treat. As such, patients should talk to their doctor about lifestyle changes that might improve their overall health. In many cases, you can improve symptoms by making the following changes.

Avoiding Acidic Foods

Coffee, chocolate, citrus fruits, onions, and high-fat foods are all known to increase stomach acid. Diet is critical. Certain foods can cause heartburn in people that normally don't have it; for those with heartburn, these foods can make symptoms even worse.

Eating the Right Foods

On the other hand, certain foods mitigate heartburn. Talk to your doctor about any foods that help control stomach acid buildup and, therefore, alleviate symptoms. Additionally, limiting meals to smaller sizes may control acid buildup. Consuming too much food, especially fatty food, can cause acid to accumulate. According to the Cleveland Clinic, a smaller meal is considered one less than 500 calories. When you eat is also important. One should avoid eating immediately before heading to bed, with three hours the ideal separation time between dinner time and bedtime. Additional heartburn fighting habits include exercising regularly (but avoid exercising right after a meal), staying active and moving throughout the day, and avoiding tobacco.

I Was Taking Zantac. Do I Have a Claim?

It can be difficult to determine if someone has a legal claim without having all the available facts. This is the case even for an experienced personal injury attorney. This said, for a lawsuit to proceed, plaintiffs must meet a few basic criteria:

The Plaintiff Used the Medication

The person bringing the lawsuit must demonstrate that they used Zantac. You can show this with sworn testimony, medical records, pharmaceutical records, and receipts showing your Zantac purchases.

The Plaintiff Has an Injury

Most plaintiffs suffer from a type of cancer linked to the compound NDMA, including stomach cancer, colon cancer, bladder cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, kidney cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, and melanoma. This is perhaps the easiest element of a lawsuit to demonstrate and can be done so with medical records.

Zantac Caused the Injury

A person may develop cancer for a variety of reasons, it could be their lifestyle (smoking, unhealthy diet, etc.) or it could be genetic. The plaintiff must demonstrate that their cancer was caused by their use of Zantac, as opposed to some other factor. You can prove a causal link with testimony from an expert witness, such as a doctor or scientist who specializes in cancer or the relationship between pharmaceuticals and cancer formation.

What Is My Zantac Lawsuit Case Worth?

This is another difficult question to answer without all the facts present. Even an experienced attorney cannot ascertain the value of a case with any extreme precision. However, a court will look at a few different factors to decide how much compensation a plaintiff deserves. Generally, in a personal injury case, a victim can incur two kinds of damages: monetary and non-monetary. Monetary losses include economic injuries the plaintiff suffered because of the defendant's wrongdoing, such as medical debt and lost wages. These are usually the easier claims to prove as you can demonstrate them with hospital bills and paystubs. Non-monetary losses are more abstract and not so easily translated into a specific dollar amount. Popular non-monetary claims include pain and suffering, mental trauma, and loss of consortium. Proving these claims are more challenging and may require testimony from an expert witness such as a doctor or psychologist. Although plaintiffs may recover monetary damages, non-monetary damages, or both, they may also receive punitive damage. Courts award punitive damages when they want to communicate to the defense and society as a whole that they will not tolerate certain behavior. The money goes beyond what's necessary to make the plaintiff whole again. Typically, a court will only grant punitive damages for truly outrageous behavior. The conduct must be worthy of such ignominious labels as “wanton and reckless” or grossly negligent.

Who is Responsible for my Zantac Injury?

Most plaintiffs bring Zantac lawsuits against the drug manufacturer Sanofi. The argument central to most claims is that the French multinational company continued to market the drug even though it knew about the risks it presented to patients. Most plaintiffs note that NDMA was discovered to cause cancer in the 1970s. Despite this knowledge, manufacturers continued to produce the drug and place it in pharmacies for sale. Some go a step further and claim that Sanofi, and other manufacturers, deliberately hid the dangers Zantac posed to patients.

What's an MDL?

Most lawsuits involve one plaintiff suing one defendant for a unique injury suffered only by the plaintiff. In other instances, especially in the defective product context, there may be thousands of plaintiffs, all who suffered the same injury, looking to sue the same defendant. Clearly, this can cause problems for the judicial system. Multidistrict litigation doesn't bog down courts with hundreds of claims stemming from the same controversy. An MDL consolidates these sister lawsuits into one large action presented before a single judge. The whole litigation process, including discovery, is managed by just one judge. This makes the process more efficient for both the court system and the plaintiffs' lawyers. From a plaintiff's perspective, much of the process is still the same: they hire a Zantac lawyer, file a claim in the relevant federal court, the litigation process proceeds, and the case either goes to trial or the parties settle.

I Used to Take Zantac. What Should I Do?

First of all, don't panic. Many people who took Zantac will not develop cancer. For someone to be at risk, they must have taken the drug for an extended time, such as months or years. If you believe you're at risk, you should contact your doctor right away. They can perform the necessary tests to determine if you have cancer. If you're diagnosed with cancer that resulted from Zantac use, speak with an attorney right away. They can evaluate the facts of your case to determine if you have a claim. You have a limited time to file a Zantac-related cancer lawsuit so act promptly. Furthermore, the case may take months or even years to resolve; waiting to file suit only means waiting longer for the relief you and your family deserve. No one should have to face a life-threatening disease because a drug manufacturer was negligent. Unfortunately, these large companies often cut corners for the sake of their own bottom lines. Thankfully, Zantac victims have options. With the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer, they can file a lawsuit against those responsible. A lawyer can determine if a claim is present, file a lawsuit, and launch a thorough investigation to ensure the truth gets told. A successful suit may result in a considerable financial award, equaling much-needed relief for both the victim and their family. Victims shouldn't hesitate to get started. Personal injury lawsuits can take time to resolve; waiting to file means waiting longer to obtain the compensation you deserve.

Contact Our Zantac Lawsuit Lawyers

If you have been prescribed a medication that you believe may have caused an injury, please contact the attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for a free consultation today. You can reach our office by either calling (833) 606-DRUG [3784] or contact us online. Our Zantac Cancer lawyers have the resources necessary to thoroughly investigate your claim and take on the biggest of corporate giants like Sanofi. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 3375 (833) 606-DRUG [3784]


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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