For years, many people have used Zantac as an over-the-counter aid to help reduce the immediate symptoms of heartburn. Zantac, also known as ranitidine, helps decrease the production of acid in the stomach, which helps many people combat those feelings of heartburn.
Recently, the FDA requested a recall for Zantac, pulling it from the shelves and immediately ceasing production.
Why Was Zantac Recalled?
Manufacturers recalled Zantac because ranitidine may contain N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a chemical that can potentially cause cancer. Manufacturers began the recall in September 2019, after noticing the potentially high levels of NDMA in stored products.
By April 2020, the FDA had stepped in to request a full recall of all ranitidine products because NDMA content in those products may increase over time, and the FDA had no mechanism for determining how or for how long users might store the product.
Types of Cancer Potentially Caused by NDMA Exposure
NDMA exposure can increase the risk of developing several types of cancer. Small amounts of NDMA naturally occur in water, soil, and even air. However, exposure to higher-than-normal concentrations of NDMA may increase the risk of developing devastating conditions, including several types of cancer.
Primarily, NDMA exposure tends to cause liver and lung cancer. However, it can also cause:
- Bladder cancer
- Gastric cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Multiple myeloma
- Colon cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
Many types of cancer may first appear silently, with few to no symptoms. Over time, however, much more severe symptoms may develop. Patients who use Zantac may not realize they have cancer until further symptoms develop.
What to Do if You Used Zantac
Many people did not think twice about regular Zantac use. Since its appearance on the market in 1983, Zantac has been a source of heartburn relief for many people. For years, doctors prescribed Zantac and recommended it to patients because of its substantial effectiveness. Unfortunately, that regular Zantac use may have increased the risk of NDMA exposure.
What should you do if you regularly use Zantac?
If You Have a Cancer Diagnosis
If you have a cancer diagnosis potentially related to regular Zantac use, you may need to take several important steps to protect yourself and your right to compensation.
Make sure you have medical confirmation of your diagnosis.
Keep track of the medical records pertaining to your diagnosis, including any test results related to a cancer diagnosis. Your medical records can serve as evidence that you did develop symptoms of cancer and that, as a result, you deserve compensation for the damages you sustained. Talk to your doctor about your Zantac use. Your doctor may also offer information about whether your cancer diagnosis may relate to NDMA exposure due to Zantac consumption.
Keep track of all medical records and bills.
As part of your claim against Zantac, you may have the right to claim compensation for the bills you may have sustained due to your cancer diagnosis related to NDMA exposure. Keep track of the medical records and bills that accompany your cancer diagnosis. In many cases, you will need to display those bills as evidence of the treatment you needed for your cancer.
You may have multiple procedures related to your cancer diagnosis, including:
- In-home care
Keep track of all those bills so you can provide them to your lawyer. You may also want to keep track of any medical records or request copies of your records from your medical care provider, since you may need to use those records to establish your diagnosis and the damages associated with your diagnosis.
Contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
A lawyer can help you learn more about your potential right to compensation if you suffered a cancer diagnosis related to Zantac use. If you try to handle your claim independently, you will likely find it much more difficult to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve. A lawyer can ensure that you understand your rights and receive the support you need as you progress through a claim.
Prepare to access past medical bills or records.
To establish the link between Zantac consumption and your cancer, you may need to show that you took Zantac at least once per week for at least a year before your cancer diagnosis, and that you took Zantac less than 20 years before facing your cancer diagnosis.
Your past medical records can help establish:
- A history of heartburn
- A doctor’s recommendation to take Zantac
- A prescription for Zantac, since Zantac originally emerged as a prescription drug
Pharmacy records may also show that you purchased Zantac regularly or had an active prescription for Zantac that you filled several times over the course of that prescription.
If You Do Not Have a Cancer Diagnosis
Finding out about a Zantac recall due to a possible cancer risk can make you feel very nervous, especially if you used Zantac regularly in the past. To have the right to participate in the Zantac lawsuit, you will need to show evidence of a cancer diagnosis related to Zantac consumption. If you do not have that diagnosis, you may not yet have the right to participate in the lawsuit. However, you may need to take steps to protect yourself in the future.
Talk to your doctor about ceasing Zantac use.
If you have any Zantac left, dispose of it safely. However, if you are going to participate in the litigation, you should save it and store it safely, as it may be evidence. However, discontinue use immediately. Keep in mind that NDMA concentration in Zantac can increase when you store the substance for a long time, so if you still have any Zantac left, it may have much higher NDMA levels than it did in the past. Talk to your doctor to find another solution for handling heartburn.
Talk to your doctor about your worries.
Tell your doctor that you took Zantac regularly and are concerned about the NDMA exposure. Your doctor can be on the lookout for symptoms or recommend tests that may give you better insight into your overall health, including helping you determine whether you may have cancer and, if you do, what to do about it.
Learn what symptoms to watch for.
If you do not have cancer, you may still worry that you will develop symptoms. Ask your doctor about any symptoms you may need to look out for, including sudden weight loss, changes in appetite unexplained by other stimuli, and changes in stool or urine output.
You may also want to watch for changes in breathing and lung capacity, ongoing fatigue, or any other symptoms that could indicate a serious problem. If you notice any worrisome symptoms, see your doctor immediately to rule out cancer.
Keep copies of receipts or medical records related to Zantac purchases, prescriptions, or consumption.
By setting aside those records now, you can increase the odds that you will have access to them if you suffer a devastating cancer diagnosis.
What Compensation Can I Recover if I Have a Zantac-Related Cancer Diagnosis?
If you have a cancer diagnosis related to taking Zantac, you may have the right to recover compensation for the damages you sustained due to that cancer diagnosis, including both financial and non-financial damages.
Compensation for Your Medical Costs
A cancer diagnosis can mean high medical bills and the need for substantial treatment. Depending on the type of cancer you have, you may go through chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. You may spend long periods in the hospital or need ongoing outpatient care. Those medical bills can feel catastrophically high, especially if you require long-lasting cancer treatments. You may claim compensation for many of those financial losses as part of your Zantac claim.
Compensation for Wages Lost Due to Your Cancer Diagnosis
Often, a cancer diagnosis will mean considerable time out of work. You may lose the capacity to work while undergoing treatment, or your cancer may prevent you from having the strength to engage in your usual activities.
Unfortunately, those lost wages can add up, especially if you are out of work for months while dealing with a cancer diagnosis. While some people may be able to return to work despite a cancer diagnosis, others may need to spend a long time out of work while dealing with a diagnosis and the associated challenges. Talk to your lawyer about the time you have spent out of work because of your cancer diagnosis and how you can best include those lost wages as part of your claim.
Compensation for the Suffering Related to Your Cancer Diagnosis
Many people find that cancer results in considerable physical and emotional suffering. Often, when you have cancer, you may find that relationships change or fall away. You may have to limit your activities considerably, especially if cancer saps your energy levels. Furthermore, both your cancer and the treatment required for it can cause ongoing physical pain, weakness, or exhaustion. Talk to your lawyer about the suffering that has gone along with your cancer diagnosis so you can include it as part of your claim.
Can I File a Claim If I Lost a Loved One to Cancer Related to Zantac Consumption?
Often, a cancer diagnosis can prove fatal. If you find yourself missing a loved one lost to cancer related to Zantac consumption, you may find that you have the right to file a wrongful death claim that will help you seek compensation for that loss. While a wrongful death claim cannot restore your lost loved one, it can help provide your family with much-needed funds that can help with rebuilding and other tasks.
You may have the right to file a wrongful death claim if:
- You lost a loved one to a cancer diagnosis related to Zantac consumption; and
- You have the closest family relationship to the deceased. Generally, that means the deceased’s spouse, children, or, in the case of a person with neither spouse nor children, the deceased’s parents.
Compensation for the loss of a loved one due to cancer related to taking Zantac can vary. However, in general, your claim should include compensation for both the financial and non-financial losses of your family.
Compensation for Your Loved One’s Medical Costs
In many cases, you can pursue compensation for the medical bills that piled up for your loved one before their death.
Compensation for Losing Your Loved One’s Income
Losing the primary wage earner in the family can cause immense financial strain. Often, even losing a secondary wage earner can cause considerable financial difficulty for the family. As part of your claim, you can include compensation for that loss.
Compensation for the Loss of Services Performed By Your Loved One
When you lose a family member, you must often pay to have someone else take over the tasks that family member once took on. That may include paying someone to help with childcare or senior care, or paying someone to take over home maintenance, fixing vehicles, or yard work, for example.
Compensation for the Loss of Your Loved One’s Presence
A wrongful death claim cannot give you your loved one back. By seeking compensation for the loss of your loved one’s presence, however, you can get funds that you need to help you rebuild your life.
Contact an Attorney Near You for Help With Your Zantac Cancer Claim
If you or a loved one faced a cancer diagnosis related to Zantac use, having a lawyer on your side can help you get a better idea of the compensation you might deserve and how to file that claim. Contact a personal injury attorney to learn more about your rights and the best way to manage your claim.