CVS Stops Sales of Zantac, Other Heartburn Drugs Over Cancer Fears

Packages of Zantac sit on a shelf at a drugstore on Sep. 19, 2019, in New York City. (Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Packages of Zantac sit on a shelf at a drugstore on Sep. 19, 2019, in New York City. (Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

CVS is taking Zantac and other ranitidine heartburn drugs off its shelves after health officials said that the drug has low levels of a probable carcinogen, the pharmacy announced Saturday.

“FDA has learned that some ranitidine medicines, including some products commonly known as the brand-name drug Zantac, contain a nitrosamine impurity called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) at low levels,” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in an alert.

NDMA, a known environmental contaminant found in water and foods, is classified as a probable human carcinogen, the agency said.

CVS said that though the amount of ranitidine found in the drug is extremely low, the pharmacy is taking Zantac products off the shelves out of an abundance of caution, according to a news release.

The FDA did not recall the drug, but recommended reaching out to doctors and discussing alternatives.

CVS will continue selling other over-the-counter heartburn relief medications, including Pepcid, Tagamet, famotidine and cimetidine.

Customers who purchased Zantac brand products and CVS brand ranitidine products can return them to their local CVS store for a refund, the pharmacy said.

The FDA is still investigating whether the small amount of NDMA in ranitidine poses a risk to patients.

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