Zantac scare draws attention to the problems with heartburn (GERD) treatments

Heartburn (GERD)
Heartburn (GERD) medication Zantac removed from shelves

CVS announced on Saturday that that they were pulling Zantac from shelves after the FDA detected a cancer causing chemical called NDMA in the drug. This chemical is used in industries such as the rubber, dye and surfactant industries. Persistent exposure to large amounts of NDMA in humans results in liver damage and low platelet counts. Wallgreens has joined CVS and Right Aid in moving to remove the drug. According to Fox News the companies have said that customers may return the drugs for a refund.

Zantac is just one brand, sold by Sanofi, the original developer of the drug. The generic name is ranitidine and there are many other brands on the market. They belong to a general class of drugs called PPIs.

The total market is estimated at 2.7 US billion dollars. According to Technavio it is likely to grow to 3.4 US billion by 2023.

PPIs implicated with various adverse side effects

Zantac (ranitidine) isn’t the only PPI to have disturbing side effects. Many PPIs have been linked to disturbing side effects such as breast enlargement in men (gynocomastia), increased risk of heart attack, dementia and kidney disease.

Other PPIs include (though the side effects may vary): omeprazole (Prilosec, Prilosec OTC), omeprazole (Yosprala), lansoprazole (Prevacid, Prevacid IV, Prevacid 24-Hour and {Lancap}), dexlansoprazole (Dexilent, Dexilent Solutab), rabeprazole (Aciphex, Aciphex Sprinkle), pantoprazole (Protonix), esomeprazole (Nexium, Nexium IV, Nexium 24 HR) and omeprazole/sodium bicarbonate (Zegerid, Zegerid OTC).

However for many there is no choice when it comes to severe heartburn (GERD) – either take PPIs or undergo surgery –  and that is not without problems. The most common form of surgery is Nissen Fundoplication, a surgery with potential issues such as an inability to vomit or dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). While other newer surgeries such as LINX exist it is still unclear how these newer techniques will compare to Nissen Fundoplication which has been is use since the 1950s.

If not treated with PPIs or surgery, severe heartburn (GERD) may lead to complications such as a narrowing of the esophagus (the tube that connects your mouth and stomache) ulcers of the esophagus and cancer. So patients face an awkward set of options, none which is without problems.

More natural treatments  that may work include raising the head of the bed (6 to 8 inches), losing weight and changing diet.

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One comment

  • ปั้มไลค์

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