Study Points to Link Between Zantac (Ranitidine) & Breast Cancer

A 2008 study conducted by Robert W. Mathes, Kathleen E. Malone, Janet R. Daling, Peggy L. Porter, and Christopher I. Li examined the relationship between certain histamine2-receptor (H2-receptor) blockers and breast cancer. The study, which looked at specifically at cimetidine and ranitidine (two types of H2-receptor blockers) found a positive relationship between these substances and prolactin levels/a heightened risk of post-menopausal breast cancer.

This study was one of the first to look at a relatively large sample size; prior to this, only small sample sizes were used to examine the relationship between H2-receptor blockers and breast cancer risk. Additionally, this was the first study to evaluate breast cancer risk by actual histologic type/estrogen or progesterone receptor status. The study evaluated the link between H2-receptor blocker usage and various forms of breast cancer development among individuals aged 55 to 79 years, looking at 1,941 cases and 1,476 controls.

Ultimately, the study found a 2.2-fold increased risk of ductal carcinoma in those currently using ranitidine. It concluded that, while the use of H2-receptor blockers is not necessarily associated with an increase in breast cancer risk, ranitidine use, specifically, could potentially increase the risk of hormone receptor-positive ductal carcinoma. The study determined that further investigation was warranted, following this information.

Ranitidine in Zantac

Ranitidine is the main active ingredient in Zantac, an antacid medication, which was initially only offered via prescription but later became available over the counter. In October of 2019, Zantac was recalled in North America due to high levels of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) found to be contained in it, and in April of 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended that Zantac be pulled from shelves nationwide.

NDMA is a known carcinogen and a “genotoxic” substance, meaning it enters cellular DNA where it can immediately cause cancerous growth. Ranitidine, the main ingredient in Zantac and other similar antacid medications, creates NDMA after ingestion, putting unwitting consumers at risk. One of these risks, as shown in the 2008 study, is a heightened risk of breast cancer ductal carcinoma.

Ductal carcinoma of the breast anatomy. Illustration showing the stages of cancerous cells invading ducts.

Our Firm Can Help

If you or a loved one was diagnosed with breast cancer ductal carcinoma after taking Zantac or another ranitidine medication for an extended period of time, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your damages. Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP is here to help you with your claim and guide you through the legal process. We are currently representing plaintiffs in Zantac litigation, including claims involving injury and death caused by breast cancer in connection with prolonged Zantac use.

Contact our firm for more information. Your initial consultation is entirely free and confidential.

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