11 Dec Recall of ranitidine (Zantac) & nizatidine (Axid) due to contamination
The popular heartburn medication ranitidine, also known by its brand name Zantac, has been pulled from the shelves in many countries due to unacceptably high levels of the impurity NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine). NDMA is classified as a probable human carcinogen, which means long-term exposure to levels above what is considered safe could increase the risk of cancer. NDMA is not expected to cause harm when ingested at very low levels. A similar medication, nizatidine (Axid), is also being voluntarily recalled due to the same contamination.
Ranitidine and nizatidine are available with or without a prescription and are used for treatment of many common conditions including heartburn and stomach ulcers. In Canada, Health Canada has asked all companies to stop distributing ranitidine because “current evidence suggests that NDMA may be present in ranitidine, regardless of the manufacturer.” In addition, the sale of nizatidine (Axid) has been voluntarily stopped by the manufacturer at Health Canada’s request. In the US, only some brands have been specifically recalled.
Despite the recall, patients should continue taking their medication until they have obtained an alternative treatment from their health care provider as the health risk is associated with long-term, not short-term, use. Anyone who has previously purchased ranitidine or nizatidine should check the most updated list of the recalled brands.
The recalled Canadian brands of ranitidine can be viewed here:
The Health Canada update regarding nizatidine can be viewed here:
The recalled American brands of ranitidine and nizatidine can be searched here:
There are alternative medications that can be used in place of ranitidine. Speak with your health care provider about your treatment options.