Drug­stores are pulling Zan­tac, generic ver­sion off the shelves

The Morning Call - - NATION & WORLD -

CVS pulled Zan­tac and its own generic form of the pop­u­lar heart­burn med­i­ca­tion from its shelves this week­end over con­cerns that the prod­ucts may con­tain small lev­els of ni­trosodimet­hy­lamine (NDMA), a pos­si­ble can­cer-caus­ing chem­i­cal linked to liver dam­age. CVS, the largest phar­macy chain in the coun­try, said Satur­day it was sus­pend­ing sales “out of an abun­dance of cau­tion.”

The de­ci­sion by the phar­macy gi­ant adds to a flurry of world­wide con­cern about the drug. Ma­jor man­u­fac­tur­ers of the generic form, ran­i­ti­dine, have an­nounced re­calls, and other coun­tries have re­quested that com­pa­nies halt dis­tri­bu­tion of the drug or is­sued re­calls. The U.S. Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion has been in­ves­ti­gat­ing the pos­si­ble risk to pa­tients, as well.

The FDA has stopped short of call­ing for peo­ple to stop tak­ing the drug but has ad­vised pa­tients to talk to their doc­tors about tak­ing an al­ter­na­tive pre­scrip­tion to ran­i­ti­dine, an anti-heart­burn med­i­ca­tion that’s com­monly used in pre­scrip­tion and over-the-counter medicines to treat is­sues such as ul­cers and acid re­flux.

Ex­po­sure to low lev­els of NDMA does not pose an acute risk to pa­tients. The chem­i­cal is clas­si­fied as a prob­a­ble car­cino­gen and is present in the en­vi­ron­ment and in food, such as grilled meat.

San­doz, a divi­sion of No­var­tis, halted dis­tri­bu­tion of ran­i­ti­dine in mid-Septem­ber and an­nounced it was re­call­ing lots af­ter the im­pu­rity was de­tected above ac­cept­able lev­els last week.

The FDA has asked com­pa­nies to test the lev­els of NDMA in their drugs.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.