Carcinogen in Heartburn Drug May Build During Storage, Lab Finds

The heartburn medicine Zantac appears to produce unacceptably high levels of a cancer-causing chemical when exposed to heat for as little as five days, according to a testing laboratory that’s urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to recall all forms of the widely used product.

Since at least September, the FDA has been monitoring the presence of a toxic chemical found in some samples of Zantac, which is also sold in generic versions. But the agency has found that levels of the chemical, NDMA, vary from safe to dangerously high. Those discrepancies have created uncertainty about how contamination is happening and whether consumers can safely use some versions of the drug.

New testing by an Alameda, California-based independent laboratory called Emery Pharma found that a combination of heat and time can raise levels of NDMA, potentially while drugs are sitting in packaging well after being analyzed by their manufacturers.

Source: Bloomberg