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What Are the Bad Side Effects of Zantac?

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February 14, 2022 by babinlaw Posted in

While Zantac is a popular medication for treating GERD and other related diseases, it can cause life-threatening conditions. Discover the serious side effects of Zantac here.

If you’ve had heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or stomach ulcers, you must know how uncomfortable they can be. From chest pain to difficulty breathing, stomach pain, and more, these conditions can affect your daily productivity.

Fortunately, the generic drug Ranitidine (brand name Zantac), sold over the counter, can be effective against GERD, heartburn, and ulcers. Unfortunately, however, this drug’s adverse side effects have led to lawsuits against the manufacturers.

Zantac, over-the-counter and prescription versions, works by reducing your stomach acid. However, many Ranitidine medications contain N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a human carcinogen, in unacceptable levels. This has led the FDA to recall the stomach acid medicine from the market.

If you’re wondering why Zantac is such a dangerous medication, you’ll find some answers in this article. If you’re experiencing any adverse effects from long-term use of Zantac, consider reaching out to a personal injury attorney that handles Zantac cases.

What’s the Case Against the Makers of Ranitidine?

It’s normal to have some adverse reactions to specific medications. So, it can be difficult to understand why Ranitidine’s side-effects are now the basis for injury lawsuits and claims. However, the side effects of Zantac are too serious to be ignored. While many drugs’ side effects are expected, Zantac patients didn’t know that they could develop cancer from using the medication.

The following are the reasons for the lawsuits against Zantac (Ranitidine):

Zantac Is a Defective Drug

Zantac users purchased the medication because they trusted in its effectiveness. However, Sanofi failed to uphold its trust by producing a hazardous drug.

Pharmaceutical companies are responsible for producing medications that are safe for the public. Instead, Sanofi produced a medication with high levels of cancer-causing N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). The longer Zantac stayed on the shelf, the more dangerous it became. That’s because NDMA increases levels over time.

Failure to Warn the Public

Zantac-induced cancer patients claim that Sanofi knew about the adverse effects of the drug. However, for selfish reasons, they decide not to disclose that the medication can cause cancer. 

This goes against pharmaceutical companies’ regulations as drug manufacturers must warn the public of the adverse side effects of their products. The affected claimants are saying that they would never have purchased Zantac if they knew that it was defective.

What Are the Common Side Effects of Zantac? 

Patients take Zantac medications depending on their ages, how severe their condition is, the type of condition, etc. E.g. for intestinal cancer, the typical oral tablet child dosage is 2–4 mg/kg of body weight twice daily. Meanwhile, adult dosage is 150mg twice daily, while senior dosage follows special dosage considerations based on doctors’ medical advice.

Unfortunately, however, following your prescriptions religiously doesn’t protect you from Ranitidine side effects. Many Zantac users have received the following cancer diagnosis due to their long-term use of the medication:

Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer occurs when a tumor develops in your bladder lining. The bladder helps you to hold urine before passing it out. When someone develops bladder cancer, they may start noticing blood in their urine. They may also experience frequent, urgent, and painful urination.

Males are more at risk of this type of cancer than females. The treatment schedule for bladder cancer depends on the cancer stage and usually includes chemotherapy.

Stomach Cancer 

Stomach or gastric cancer is extremely dangerous because it is hard to diagnose in the early stages. As such, it can be difficult to manage. According to the National Cancer Center, 120,301 people lived with stomach cancer as of 2018.

Common gastric cancer symptoms include heartburn, bloody stool, stomach pain, vomiting, etc.

Esophageal Cancer 

Esophageal cancer is one of the most common types of Zantac-caused cancer. It occurs in the esophagus when cancer cells form in its tissues. Like bladder cancers, men are more at risk of esophageal cancer than women.

Common symptoms include chest pain, difficulty swallowing, heartburn, weight loss, etc. One of the potential risks of esophageal cancer is having GERD.

Liver Disease and Cancer 

You can develop liver disease, enlarged liver, reduced liver function, and cancer due to overexposure to NDMA from Ranitidine. The liver is one of the most affected organs because it’s directly responsible for processing harmful Zantac-related toxins. Common symptoms of liver disease or cancer include bloody vomit, jaundice, fatigue, gallstones, and liver failure.

Severe Kidney Disease, Renal Impairment, Acute Interstitial Nephritis, and Cancer 

NDMA exposure can affect the kidneys in more ways than one. It can cause renal impairments, reduced kidney function, and kidney cancer. Long-term use of Ranitidine may also cause acute interstitial nephritis.

Common symptoms of kidney cancer include loss of appetite, fever, bloody urine, unexplained weight loss, etc. Kidney damage means that your kidneys can not filter blood properly any longer. As such, you may need dialysis or a kidney transplant.


Melanoma is one of the potential side effects of using Zantac and happens when skin cells start developing abnormally. It’s the medical term for the most serious case of skin cancer. 

However, they can develop anywhere in your body, like the legs, arms, face, and back. It can also appear in your eyes. Melanoma causes changes in normal appearance.

Prostate Cancer 

Prostate cancer is yet another Zantac side-effect that’s common in males. It can affect sexual reproduction and fertility. Early detection and medical attention from an experienced medical professional are key to managing this type of cancer. Common prostate cancer symptoms include back pain, bloody and painful urination, fatigue, and bone pain. 

Breast Cancer 

Breast cancer refers to a situation where cancerous tumors appear in the breast. It’s more common in women than men. Inverted nipples, changes in the breast look, and breast lumps are common breast cancer symptoms.

Colon Cancer 

Colon cancer is among the most common types of cancers in the USA. It causes abdominal pain, bloody stool, constipation, anemia, unexplained weight loss, etc. Older people are more at risk of colon cancer than younger people.

Other serious side effects of Ranitidine products include:

  • Skin rash and itchy skin
  • Cough with mucus 
  • Abnormal heart rhythm (fast and slow heart rate) or irregular heartbeat 
  • Abdominal pain
  • Insomnia
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Premature ventricular beats
  • Blood disorder 

The above long-term side effects of Zantac don’t represent the complete list of health risks associated with the drug. For example, Zantac may indirectly cause heart palpitations.

Are There Any Safer Treatment Options for Acid Reflux? 

Following Zantac’s recall, it’s natural to wonder if there are alternative medications for GERD and other related health conditions. Fortunately, there are antacid drugs and other medications that are efficient against GERD, sour stomach, acid indigestion, etc. They come in tablet, liquid, and chewable forms.

The following are viable alternatives to Ranitidine:

Zantac 360 Over-the-Counter Formula

This Zantac medication from Sanofi doesn’t contain cancer-causing ranitidine. Instead, it contains lamotrigine and doesn’t carry the risk for cancer that ranitidine has. It’s a well-tolerated medicine with little or no adverse side effects. 

Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)

Proton pump inhibitors are another alternative to Ranitidine. These drugs help to reduce the proton pump’s ability to produce huge stomach acid amounts. Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid are examples of effective PPIs for treating GERD and related conditions. However, they’re also the subject of defective drug litigations as they can cause kidney diseases.

Other H2 Blockers 

There are other H2 blockers aside from Zantac that the FDA recommends for GERD. They include Pepcid (famotidine) and Tagamet (cimetidine), which help to reduce the production of stomach acid. They produce faster relief than proton pump inhibitors.

Natural Alternatives and Herbal Products  

Numerous natural and herbal remedies are available for treating heartburn. Patients can relieve their symptoms by cultivating healthy lifestyles. These include eating a low-fat diet and smaller meals, regular exercises, avoiding alcohol, etc. Herbal products like marshmallow root, fennel, catnip, and papaya tea may also effectively treat heartburn.

What To Do After Taking Ranitidine Medications 

After confirming your cancer diagnosis, you should consider speaking with a personal injury lawyer. Cancer is one of the most adverse events anyone can face. You deserve compensation for what you’re going through.

If an attorney is able to take your case, they can help fill you in on the next steps to take after your diagnosis. They’ll file a class action or individual lawsuit against Zantac manufacturers for producing a defective drug. Upon a successful claim, you’ll recover damages for medical bills, lost wages, legal costs, etc.

Have you developed an adverse reaction to Zantac after taking the medication for a long period of time? If so, you may be eligible for a personal injury or mass tort lawsuit against its manufacturers. 

Here’s how to determine if you’re qualified for compensation:

The Drug’s Defective Nature

You must prove that the drug is defective and capable of causing adverse conditions that you weren’t aware of. A defective drug also includes medications that were wrongly marketed. For example, Zantac is a defective drug because the manufacturers failed to warn patients against cancer risks.

Link Between Ranitidine and Your Adverse Side Effects

It is not enough to prove that Zantac is a defective meditation. You must also show that you used the drug for long periods, and it caused your cancer.

Merely using it for a few weeks before your cancer diagnosis may not qualify you for compensation. Your medical record will be beneficial in proving long-term Ranitidine use.


You must provide proof of the damages you want compensation for.

Contact Experienced Zantac Lawyers in Ohio

Taking OTC or prescription Ranitidine can put you at high risk of cancer and other adverse medical conditions. While you must visit a health care professional if you’re experiencing Zantac’s adverse effects, you might want to consider contacting a Zantac attorney, too.

The medical expenses and other financial costs of treating cancers can be draining. Having a personal injury lawyer file an injury claim on your behalf can help to lift the financial burdens.

At Babin Law, our Columbus Zantac attorneys offer high-quality legal representation on a contingency fee, so our clients can get access to justice without having to pay legal fees upfront. Reach out to us and schedule a free case review today to see if we can take on your case.