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Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP

Should You Take Zantac While Pregnant?

The medications that a person can take when pregnant are few. For many years, Zantac made its way onto this list. As a result, expecting mothers who experienced heartburn during pregnancy did not hesitate to reach for Zantac. This decision was motivated in part because Zantac has long been classified as a Category B drug by the Food and Drug Administration. Drugs in this category are considered safe for developing fetuses.

Recent Food and Drug Administration studies, however, have found increasing evidence that the drug should no longer fall in this classification. Instead, if an expecting mother took Zantac for any reason during pregnancy, the child is at risk of developing a birth defect or cancer. Infants who take the medication can also develop cancer. If you or your child incurred any type of harm caused by Zantac, remember that you have a right to seek compensation. Pursuing the results you deserve, however, can be challenging. Fortunately, an experienced defective drug attorney can help review your options and fight for the results you deserve.

Understanding the Role of Zantac

Zantac is the most popular brand name of the Ranitidine drug. Ranitidine is used to manage the symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn. Zantac was first sold in the United States in 1983 and promptly gained widespread use. Zantac was even the first medication to surpass $1 billion in sales and currently has annual sales of $129 million. Over the years, many scientific studies have drawn links between Ranitidine and Zantac and cancer due to NDMA. Many people who have taken Ranitidine or Zantac have been diagnosed with several types of cancer including bladder cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, esophageal cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, small intestine cancer, stomach cancer, testicular cancer, or uterine cancer.

What is NDMA?

NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine or dimethylnitrosamine) is a semi-volatile organic chemical that is recognized as a carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. NDMA is found in both water and foods like dairy products, meats, and vegetables. NDMA is also used in gasoline and as an additive in lubricants. NDMA has also been used to manufacture liquid rocket fuel and is a byproduct of manufacturing certain pesticides.

The Zantac Recall

In April 2020, the Food and Drug Administration issued a market-wide recall of Zantac. The recall applies to both prescription and over the counter (OTC) versions of the medication. While most people have heard something about the Zantac recall, many still have questions about the medication. If you have questions about any medications that you took, you should contact your pharmacist and ask them to explain what drugs are found in the medication. If the pharmacist lists Ranitidine, you should not hesitate to speak with a knowledgeable defective drug attorney. Current FDA research has determined that both Zantac and the generic form of Zantac are broken into the NDMA carcinogen while the medication is still in its packaging. Additionally, research has determined that Zantac also breaks down into NDMA after a person has taken the medication. Prolonged usage of either ranitidine or Zantac can place a person to elevated levels of NDMA, which can lead to cancer in pregnant women as well as birth defects in unborn children.

The Treatment of Heartburn in Babies

Some babies produce too much stomach acid. The muscle between the esophagus and the stomach is referred to as the lower esophageal sphincter and opens so food can transition from the esophagus to the stomach. Most times, this sphincter closes so acid cannot move back from the stomach into the esophagus. Unfortunately, however, in some children, this muscle is not fully developed and lets some acid back into the esophagus. In these situations, the acid can then irritate the esophagus and cause a burning sensation. Too much acid reflux can result in both sores and ulcers. While Zantac and ranitidine once played a helpful role in treating this condition, the parents of children who experience this condition must now pursue other safer options.

What Separates Birth Defects From Birth Injuries 

Birth defects involve harm to a child that occurred before birth due to a harmful drug or something that happened during the pregnancy. Birth injuries, however, are typically caused by an error that occurred during the delivery of the child. Approximately 7% of all children are born with birth defects, ranging from minor to severe.

Possible Birth Defects Associated with Zantac Usage

Several types of birth defects are associated with prolonged usage of ranitidine or Zantac during pregnancy. While there are many potential defects, some of the most common birth defects associated with exposure to NDMA include:

  • Chef palate
  • Heart murmurs
  • Neonatal deaths
  • Postnatal cancer
  • Stillbirths

Qualifying Factors for Zantac or Ranitidine Compensation

 If your pregnancy resulted in a birth defect after taking ranitidine or Zantac or you or your child developed cancer after prolonged usage of these medications, you might be able to pursue compensation. If you satisfy the following criteria, you will likely be able to obtain compensation:

  • You have taken ranitidine or Zantac for a minimum of six months during pregnancy
  • You took a minimum of 300 mg/week of ranitidine or Zantac during six months of pregnancy
  • You experienced a birth defect
  • There are no more than five years between the birth and diagnosis of the condition

Who is Liable to Pay Compensation for Zantac and Ranitidine-Related Birth Defects?

When many people learn about the danger presented by Zantac and Ranitidine use, they wonder which companies can be held liable for birth defects caused by the medications. Various reports suggest that the manufacturers of Ranitidine and Zantac were aware of the medication’s potential risks since at least the 1980s. Some of these manufacturers include GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Sanofi who manufactured the brand-name Zantac drug, and other manufacturers who produced generic ranitidine and Ranitidine equivalents.

Speak With a Defective Drug Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured by Zantac or any other defective drug, you can quickly find yourself facing various complications. One of the best ways to respond in such a situation is to retain the help of an experienced Long Island defective drug attorney. Contact the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe LLP today for your free consultation.


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