Amidst recent recalls over a suspected carcinogen used in the over-the-counter acid reflux medication Zantac, the Food and Drug Administration has released a list of safer antacid alternatives that have been tested and found to be carcinogen-free.
On Wednesday, the FDA released the results of preliminary tests of safer, carcinogen-free antacid alternatives, including the likes of Pepcid (famotidine), Tagamet (cimetidine), Nexium (esomeprazole), Prevacid (lansoprazole) and Prilosec (omeprazole), all of which were found to have no traces of the potentially cancer-causing agent NDMA, unlike the popular OTC antacid drug Zantac.
Generic drugmakers Perrigo, Sanofi, Novartis' Sandoz division and Apotex have all rushed to recall the top antacid on the market today, Zantac, which has been found to contain a suspected carcinogen for years now, unbeknownst to the FDA.
The carcinogen in question, NDMA, is according to Harvard Health “an environmental contaminant that is found in water and foods, including dairy products, vegetables, and grilled meats. Its classification as a probable carcinogen is based on studies in animals; studies in humans are very limited.”
The agency’s announcement comes on the heels of generic Zantac drugmakers voluntarily recalling their products from pharmaceutical store shelves, however, many pharmacies have already stopped selling the OTC heartburn medication upon the FDA’s recently damning report.
CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and Rite Aid have all suspended sales of Zantac until further notice “out of an abundance of caution,” according to a Web MD report.
It’s important to note, however, that “NDMA may cause cancer only after exposure to high doses over a long period of time,” Harvard Health reports, and that makers of the generic version of Zantac have yet to receive any reports of adverse reactions to the NDMA-infused heartburn drug.
Meanwhile, NDMA has also been found in high blood pressure medication as well, including the likes of losartan and valsartan, both of which were recalled by the FDA on Oct. 15.