Long-term use of Zantac can lead to an increased risk of developing testicular cancer

By Michael Bartlett

Posted on April 07th, 2020

Users of Zantac may have been exposed to unsafe levels of NDMA over extended periods of time. New studies show that NDMA intoxication decreased the production of gonadotropins, thus may impair the endocrine regulation of spermatogenesis and consequently affect the reproductive function of the testes.

As anticipated, recall of the popular heartburn medication ranitidine, known by the brand name Zantac has expanded. On April 1, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has requested manufacturers to pull all prescriptions and over-the-counter heartburn medications that contain ranitidine from the market immediately after determining that a contamination issue poses a greater risk than previously thought.

Patients who are taking prescription ranitidine should discuss alternatives with their health care provider, the agency advised. FDA suggests consumers dispose of any ranitidine products at home rather than bringing them to drug take-back locations, as such errands should be avoided to reduce people's risk of being exposed to COVID-19.

Zantac has been found to contain NDMA at levels above the acceptable limits set by the FDA

N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) the highly toxic chemical in Zantac (ranitidine) is a semi-volatile organic compound that belongs to a family of chemicals known as N-nitrosamines. Based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals, N-Nitrosamines have been classified as reasonably anticipated to be carcinogenic.

There is a 96 ng permissible daily intake limit of NDMA. However, recent testing of Zantac found that the heartburn medication contains 26,000 times the daily intake limit of NDMA in a Zantac 150 mg tablet, the dosage countless people take every day. In screening commonly used pharmaceuticals for possible carcinogenic effects, scientists noted that overuse of certain medications was associated with increased risk of developing testicular cancer. More research is needed before the mechanisms behind this association can be fully understood.

Several studies support three important points underlying the danger posed by Zantac:

  • NDMA is carcinogenic to humans even at extremely low doses;
  • Levels o NDMA produced by Zantac are dangerously high;
  • The problem with Zantac is not an "impurity" in the drug, but rather the carcinogen is likely formed as the result of the inherent instability of the ranitidine molecule.

Acute exposure to NDMA induced testicular damage in laboratory animals

The testicular cancer risk associated with Zantac results from the fact that the drug contains the highly toxic semi-volatile chemical N-nitrosodimethylamine used for laboratory research to induce tumors in experimental animals. In a study conducted on male rats, a one-time dose of 30 or 60 mg N-nitrosodimethylamine/kg body weight induced testicular damage. Given the current information, it is possible that long-term users of Zantac or generic ranitidine could be at significant risk of developing testicular cancer from cumulative NDMA exposure. Some medications can adversely affect male fertility by injuring testicular germ cells or disturbing hormonal levels leading to decreased semen quality.

While this new information about the Zantac cancer risk is being closely reviewed and analyzed, Environmental Litigation Group is evaluating whether financial compensation may be available for individuals who may have developed several types of cancer associated with exposure to NDMA through contaminated ranitidine products, including testicular cancer.

Health risks associated with brand-name Zantac and generic ranitidine include testicular cancer

The male reproductive system may also be a target for drug toxicity and their impact on the reproductive function becomes nowadays an essential aspect of research especially in testicular cancer patients.

Testicular toxicity accounts for about 50% of infertility cases in men and toxicity screening aims to identify cell toxicity and the underlying causes, in order to establish the better dose range under which certain medicine can be devoid of adverse side-effects.

Testicular cancer patients may experience a combination of the following symptoms:

  • A painless lump in a testicle
  • An enlargement of a testicle and/scrotum
  • Pain in a testicle or in the scrotum, groin or abdomen
  • Heavy feeling in the scrotum
  • A dull ache in lower back, abdomen or groin

However, many of these symptoms can be caused by non-cancerous conditions, such as testicle injury or inflammation. When testicular cancer is misdiagnosed as a less serious condition or treatment delayed, the patient's situation and prognosis can grow significantly worse.

If you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms or have performed a self-examination and found lumps in the testicles, it would be best to consult your primary care physician. Your doctor may order a series of tests such as blood tests and one or more imaging tests to determine the presence of testicular cancer. Prompt diagnosis and early treatment are critical for a favorite outcome.

If you are currently taking Zantac, be sure to talk with your health care team about the potential risks and alternative medication options.

We can help you obtain the full financial compensation you're entitled to

If you developed testicular cancer after using Zantac or other ranitidine medication in the long-term treatment of digestive problems, you may have a claim. While no amount can make up for a cancer diagnosis, the compensation would ensure you have the financial resources to cover past and future medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, pain and suffering.

We provide free case reviews to anyone who fills out our contact form or calls our offices. Keep all the documents relevant to the case including doctors' notes, receipts and pharmacy records if Zantac was prescribed, and any other evidence that will support your case. Our experienced and compassionate attorneys will fight for you so you shouldn't have to expend additional energy worrying about how to handle your case.