NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A drug maker producing generic versions of the popular heartburn medication Zantac says it will stop distributing it over a possible link to cancer-causing chemicals.
Novartis says it’s stopped shipping the pills after U.S. and European health regulators found small amounts of N-nitrosodimethylamine in both branded and generic versions of Zantac.
NDMA is the same carcinogen that prompted a massive recall of several blood pressure medications in July.
Numerous recalls were also launched after the FDA found “unacceptable levels” of nitrosamines in several of those common drugs containing valsartan.
A recall for Zantac has not been issued.
The FDA says people shouldn’t panic, but suggests switching to another over-the-counter drug while the agency tests more samples.
NDMA can cause harm in large amounts, but the levels the FDA found in preliminary tests of ranitidine “barely exceed amounts you might expect to find in common foods,” according to a statement from Dr. Janet Woodcock, research director for FDA’s Centers for Drug Evaluation and Research.
Zantac maker Sanofi has yet to act on the FDA’s findings.