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CVS pulls Zantac and similar acid medicines due to cancer concerns



CVS, the largest drugstore chain in the country, said it had stopped selling Zantac and other ranitidine-containing products over the weekend until further notice. The US Food and Drug Administration said earlier this month that it has learned that some acid-lowering and acid-lowering drugs, including those known by the Zantac brand, contain low levels of impurities that can cause cancer.

Zantac and its generic counterpart have not been withdrawn, a CVS statement said and the FDA does not recommend patients stop taking ranitidine products.

Customers can return products

The impurity nitrosamine, known as N-nitrosodimethylamine or NDMA, is classified as a probable human carcinogen based on laboratory tests, and this is not the first time it has been found with a common drug.

Last year, the FDA examined NDMA and other blood impurities for pressure and heart failure medicines known as angiotensin receptor blockers or ARBs. Many reminders have been triggered since the FDA found "unacceptable levels" of nitrosamines in several of these common medicines containing valsartan.

A study published last year in the BMJ medical journal did not find a "significantly increased short-term overall cancer risk" among users of valsartan drugs contaminated with NDMA. However, this study noted that long-term cancer research is needed.

Customers who have already purchased the products can return them to CVS for refund, CVS stated.


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