Heartburn drug Zantac, generic versions could contain small amounts of possible carcinogen

The Food and Drug Administration announced that the popular heartburn medication Zantac, or ranitidine, and some generic versions of the medication, could have an impurity that could cause cancer.

The FDA made the announcement Friday that N-nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA, has been found in low levels in the medications.

NDMA is a probable human carcinogen, according to the FDA. It and other nitrosamine impurities have been making headlines over the contamination of blood pressure and heart failure medications and have caused recalls of the prescriptions over the past year.

The FDA has not recalled Zantac and the generic heartburn medications but is investigating if the levels found pose a risk to patients. If it does, the FDA will issue an update, officials said.

NDMA has been found to cause cancer in large amounts, but the amount found in preliminary tests of ranitidine show amounts that are barely over those that are found in food, the FDA said. NDMA is an environmental contaminant found in water, meats, dairy products and vegetables.

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