Are you concerned about the suspension of sales of Zantac-like heartburn drugs because of cancer fears? We’re here to help you understand what Zantac is and what alternatives may be available.
Zantac (ranitidine) is a medication used to help treat heartburn, esophagitis, and duodenal ulcers by decreasing stomach acid production. It is also used to treat peptic ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Ranitidine is in a class of medications known as H2 blockers. While Canada and France have announced Zantac recalls, the European Union and the United States are still investigating.
What does this mean to you?
It was on September 13, 2019 that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced the decision to review the presence of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which is classified as a probable human carcinogen, in medications containing the drug known as ranitidine. These medications that contain ranitidine help reduce the production of stomach acid and are available as prescription medications and over the counter medications.
What should you do?
If you are concerned about your prescription medication speak to your doctor or pharmacist about alternatives available.
Other H2 blockers, or medications in the same class as ranitidine (Zantac) include the following which may or may not require a prescription:
- cimetidine (Tagamet)
- nizatidine (Axid)
- famotidine (Pepsid)
Proton pump inhibitors are another class of medications that are a little stronger than H2 blockers. These medications also blocking acid production.
Omeprazole (Prilosec) and lansoprazole (Prevacid) are familiar to physicians and patients as they have been around for a long time. These medications are currently available over the counter (OTC) in the USA.
Esomeprazole (Nexium) is newer and is also available OTC in the USA.
Newer medications such as rabeprazole (Aciphex) and pantoprazole (Protonix) are available with a prescription. These medications are a little smaller in size and easier to swallow.
The newest and very popular alternative is the prescription medication Dexilant® (dexlansoprazole).
Dexilant® (dexlansoprazole) for the treatment of GERD
Dexilant® is a common prescription medication used for the treatment of GERD. The active ingredient in Dexilant® is dexlansoprazole. It is also prescribed to treat heartburn associated with GERD and, to maintain healing of erosive esophagitis. Dexilant® is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) that works by reducing acid produced in the stomach. It may provide up to 24 hours of relief from heartburn due to GERD. It may also provide relief from other stomach and esophagus symptoms such as persistent cough or trouble swallowing.
Dexilant® contains dexlansoprazole in a mixture of two types of enteric-coated granules. Thus, it releases the medication in two ways –it delivers the first release of medication within the first hour of taking the capsule, and then it releases a second round of medication into your system 4 to 5 hours later. By taking Dexilant®, acid damage in the esophagus and stomach may heal faster and certain types of cancers of the esophagus and ulcers may be prevented.
Learn more about Dexilant® (dexlansoprazole).
Read more about the Alert by Health Canada requesting companies stop distribution of ranitidine drugs in Canada and the recall of other drugs.
NOTE: The information in this article is accurate as of October 1, 2019. Circumstances and details may change after the publication of this article.
If you have questions about your prescription medications or any other medication, please contact our team at Canada Online Health by calling toll free 1-800-399-DRUG (3784). One of our patient representatives will be happy to assist you or transfer you to a licensed Canadian pharmacist for a free consultation.
This article contains medical information provided to help you better understand this particular medical condition or process, and may contain information about medication often used as part of a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor. It is not intended to be used as either a diagnosis or recommendation for treatment of your particular medical situation. If you are unwell, concerned about your physical or mental state, or are experiencing symptoms you should speak with your doctor or primary health care provider. If you are in medical distress please contact emergency services (such as 911).