• More recalls expected after Zantac pulled from shelves over cancer risk

    By: Heather Hegedus

    Updated:

    BOSTON - Popular drugs like Zantac and blood pressure medication have been recalled over and over again, and local doctors warn it's going to keep happening.

    Zantac and generic versions of ranitidine are the latest drugs recalled because of a possible cancer-causing chemical known as NDMA. That's the same chemical that led to dozens of recalls involving blood pressure medication.

    Doctors tell Boston 25 News, they believe there will be more.

    "This may be the tip of the iceberg because we only found out about this a year ago, and the FDA is starting to test other medications," said cardiologist Dr. Raghu Tadikamalla.

    Tadikamalla stresses that exposure to the chemical is low, but patients still need to be aware.

    "I think from time to time we're going to find more lots of different medications being recalled," Tadikamalla said. "We're going to have to deal with it and go with it as time goes on."

    Experts say NDMA is a chemical created during a new manufacturing process. Drug companies and the FDA didn't know it could happen, so they weren't testing for it.

    North Attleboro taxi driver Scott Sternberg tells Boston 25 News he took Zantac until it was recently recalled.  “I was on Zantac for about 8 months for gastric reflux. I went for a refill - it's on my primary care doctor. He took me off the Zantac and put me on omeprazole,”  Sternberg said.  “I am glad that I'm on a different medication now.”

    Dr. Blair Jobe with the Esophageal and Lung Institute stresses people shouldn't overreact.

    "I don't think there's cause for extreme alarm at this point," Jobe said. "The amount that's contained in Zantac is equivalent to some of the daily basis, particularly smoked foods." 

    Jobe said patients who suffer from heartburn should consult their doctor, as there is plenty of new treatments to help people, from surgery to alternative medicine.

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