Recently, the FDA has alerted both health professionals and consumers of the voluntary recall of stomach acid reducer “ranitidine” or Zantac. Independent labs alerted the FDA that high levels of a substance called NDMA – a probable carcinogen – are released as the drug breaks down. Having reviewed the data, we strongly feel patients should IMMEDIATELY CEASE taking ANY form of ranitidine, prescription or OTC, generic or brand (all Zantac products).
You may be able to take prescription drugs back to your pharmacy for a comparable replacement. This drug is potentially hazardous in our landfills or water supply, so please dispose of responsibly. See the FDA's guidance on 'Where and How to Dispose of Unused Medicines'.
NDMA exposure also comes from tobacco, processed meats such as bacon, beer, fish, cheese, and chlorinated water. Any patients with long-term exposure to ranitidine should be evaluated by their provider so we can assure that all appropriate cancer screening is completed.
For alternatives to ranitidine, consider switching to Famotidine/Pepcid or Cimetidine/Tagamet for as needed use.
Ideally, eliminate need for heartburn meds through simple diet strategies:
- Eat small meals – slow down, learn healthy portion sizes; quit eating when 80% full
- Achieve healthy weight
- Avoid any calories 3 hours before bed and stay upright for a few hours after eating
- Go for a 10min walk after meals
- Elevate the head of your bed on blocks or using a wedge pillow
- Avoid foods that aggravate heartburn (spicy and/or fatty foods, refined grains, tomato-based sauces, alcohol, carbonated beverages, caffeine and chocolate, chewing gum)
- Drink a tablespoon of lemon juice or Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar in water twice a day
- We carry Thorne GI Encap or Designs for Health Gastromend HP that help heal the stomach lining
Many LifeScape patients are also aware of the multiple recalls of generic blood pressure medicines such as losartan and valsartan over the past 18 months. These involve small levels of NMDA produced by use of certain solvents in manufacturing processes of some companies mainly in India and China. These recalls involve specific products and lots. If you are concerned about the quality of your generic medicines, we can prescribe through Valisure Mail Order Pharmacy, which tests EVERY batch of drugs for impurities and which alerted the FDA to the ranitidine issue. Please let your provider know if you want your medications refilled through Valisure.
A reminder to patients that chronic GERD (gastrointestinal reflux disease) and chronic use of acid blockers increases the risk of pneumonia and chronic lung disease, things we absolutely want to avoid especially given the severity of COVID-19.