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A bottle of Zantac 150 with some blue pills beside it, on a white background

Hundreds of plaintiffs have filed Zantac lawsuits claiming that after years of using the heartburn drug, Zantac (ranitidine), they were diagnosed with bladder cancer.

Now, a new study provides additional evidence to support their claims. The American Journal of Gastroenterology recently published research from Scotland indicating that users of Zantac products may face a 22 percent increased risk of bladder cancer.  

Study Shows Increased Risk of Bladder Cancer with Ranitidine Use

For the study, researchers examined data from patients diagnosed with bladder cancer in Scotland between 1999 and 2011. After identifying those patients, they matched them up with controls based on age, gender, and general practice records. In total, they gathered information on 3,260 cases of bladder cancer and 14,037 controls.

The results showed evidence of a 22 percent increased risk of bladder cancer in ranitidine users, compared with non-users. When patients used the drug for three years or more, the risk increased. The same risks were not seen with another class of heartburn drugs called proton pump inhibitors, of which Nexium and Prilosec are examples. (These drugs, however, have been associated with kidney damage.)

Other Studies Suggest Ranitidine May Be Linked to Bladder Cancer

On April 1, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested the recall of all ranitidine products after independent studies showed that storage time and high temperatures could increase the level of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in the drug. NDMA is a known potent carcinogen.

Research on Zantac and bladder cancer is in its early stages, but there have been a few studies that have looked at how ranitidine consumption may increase the levels of nitrosamines like NDMA in the body. In 2016, researchers collected urine samples from healthy adult volunteers over 24-hour periods before and after consumption of 150mg ranitidine. They then analyzed the samples for residual ranitidine as well as NDMA and other nitrosamines.

Following ranitidine intake, the urinary level of NDMA excreted over 24 hours increased 400-fold from 100 to 47,600 ng, while total N-nitrosamines increased 5-fold. The researchers noted that the NDMA excretion rates after ranitidine intake “equaled or exceeded those observed previously in patients with schistosomiasis, a disease wherein N-nitrosamines are implicated as the etiological agents for bladder cancer.”

All Federal Zantac Lawsuits Centralized in Florida

These findings are likely to be addressed in the growing Zantac litigation. Because of the commonality of facts and claims, all Zantac lawsuits were consolidated into the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on February 6, 2020. District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg was assigned to oversee the pre-trial proceedings.

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