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January 19, 2021 — Veterans are increasingly filing Zantac lawsuits claiming the drug has caused cancer. The lawsuits allege that the manufacturers knew the active ingredient in Zantac, ranitidine could form a toxic chemical called N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) inside the human stomach, but kept this information from the public. 

NDMA is known to cause cancer in animals and may cause cancer in humans. Zantac has been available by prescription and over-the-counter, and it’s been available in the United States since the early 1980s. It treats several disorders caused by too much stomach acid. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had asked all manufacturers to withdraw Zantac and all ranitidine products from the U.S. market in April 2020 because the drug could expose people to unacceptable levels of NDMA. After the FDA announced the market withdrawal, the Defense Health Agency (DHA) told military health beneficiaries to stop taking Zantac (ranitidine) and look for an alternative stomach acid-reducing medication. 

Veterans are more likely to suffer gastrointestinal problems such as such as heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome, and they are more likely to take gastrointestinal medications. For example, some studies show that veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often have GERD, acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to Dr. Jaimie L. Gradus of the National Center for PTSD, VA Boston Healthcare System and colleagues published in Epidemiology. Drugs for GI problems include proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as Nexium and Prilosec or H2 blockers such as Zantac. The VA’s blog said that one in six veterans uses PPIs to ease heartburn or acid reflux. They are among the most prescribed medications in the VA. 

Lawyers who accept these cases say their veteran clients have been diagnosed with a variety of cancers after using Zantac. Their doctors told them that they had no family history or genetic risks for the disease and that the cause was most likely from an environmental exposure such as Zantac. Many of the veterans who filed Zantac cancer lawsuits took Zantac that had been prescribed at the VA.

Cancers potentially linked to Zantac include:

  • Bladder cancer and bladder removal 
  • Breast cancer 
  • Colon cancer 
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Kidney cancer and kidney removal 
  • Liver cancer 
  • Melanoma 
  • Ovarian cancer 
  • Prostate cancer 
  • Stomach cancer

Reference: Turner, T., Veterans Increasingly Filing Zantac Lawsuits. Retrieved November 19, 2020, https://www.consumernotice.org/news/veterans-filing-zantac-lawsuits/

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Gayle Gerling Pettinga

Born and raised in Evansville, Gayle is a respected, experienced lawyer and a valued community leader. She graduated near the top of her class at Indiana University’s prestigious Maurer School of Law. She’s practiced law with one of the largest firms in Indianapolis as well as one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. And that means she knows how big law firms and big companies think and how they operate – and she will put that knowledge to work for you.

Gayle has received numerous awards and honors including Martindale-Hubbell — Peer Review Rated: AV®, American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys 10 Best Attorneys in Indiana for Exceptional and Outstanding Client Service, and YWCA Evansville 100 Years, 100 Women Honoree, 2011.

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