The Zantac Recall: What to Do if You Take Ranitidine

Man suffering from heartburn
Millions of Americans take Zantac or ranitidine for heartburn or ulcers.

Last month, the FDA issued a recall for Zantac. Only certain lots made by a single manufacturer were included in the recall, but many retailers have pulled the product from their shelves completely as the FDA continues looking into the safety of the drug.

So, what should you do if you’re one of the millions of Americans that take this drug for ulcers or heartburn? John Davison, MD, weighs in with all the details.

What is Zantac?

According to Davison, “Zantac is an H2 blocker. It blocks the signal to the stomach to make acid. It is an old medication and has been around for years. There are several manufacturers of the generic form of this medication, called ranitidine.”

Why has it been recalled?

According to the FDA, some lots of ranitidine have been found to contain small amounts of a substance called NDMA. NDMA is carcinogenic (it may cause cancer). Certain lots of the brand name, Zantac, and generic ranitidine are included in this recall.

What to Do if You Take Zantac

You can look to see if your Zantac (ranitidine) is on the list of recalled lots. If it isn’t, you can continue taking it. But, if yours is included on the list of recalled lots, or you want to try something else while the FDA continues to investigate, you have some options.

Medical Alternatives to Ranitidine

There are other drugs that prevent heartburn, aside from Zantac and ranitidine. You could try:

  • A different H2 blocker, such as Pepcid (famotidine) or Tagamet (cimetidine)
  • A proton pump inhibitor (Prilosec, Nexium, Protonix, etc.)

According to Davison, you might even stop all acid-blocking medication. “Many patients start these medications and never stop them. They may not still be needed. This can be a good thing. Although these medications are well tolerated, there may be some side effects from long term use.”

Still Have Questions About the Zantac Recall?

Reach out to your primary care doctor.

Non-Medical Alternatives to Ranitidine

There are a few things you can try to prevent heartburn without taking medication. According to Davison, those include:

  • Eating smaller meals
  • Not laying down for a few hours after eating
  • Losing weight if you’re overweight
  • Avoiding foods that aggravate heartburn (fatty foods, spicy foods, tomato-based sauces, alcohol, carbonated beverages, caffeine and chocolate are the biggies)
  • Elevating the head of your bed
  • Wearing looser fitting clothes

You can find the latest updates on the Zantac recall on the FDA website.

Comments (29)

  1. Carol D Lewis says:

    Let me know what to do . I take a lot of Zantac

  2. Tina Heard says:

    I take ranitidine generic for zantac 150 mg tablets s429 pill is there a recall on this medication please let me know thank you.

  3. Maggie Malone says:

    I maggie malone been taking zan-zic for 13 years I had to get off them because they were making me sick as a dog

  4. Dorcas osorio says:

    I been taking this zantac for years my condition it getting worse not better , but I feel relief when I take it. What should I do I had stop taking this med

  5. Brenda Young says:

    I have taken Nexium which didn’t do anything for me, Pepcid which didn’t do much for me and the only thing that did help were Ranitidine capsules and I have been taking them for a looong time – because they DO work for me. There are times when I had to take a Ranitidine as well as a couple of TUMS. Is ranitidine coming back on the market now or ever??

    • Hi Brenda, the FDA page is a great source for the status of the Zantac/ranitidine recall and availability of the medications. If you have any questions about what you should do, we encourage you to reach out to your doctor for specific advice. Thank you for reading!

  6. Lara Oneal says:

    75,mg of Zantac once a day was working very well for my GERD. Now I have nothing that works that well. It was also very soothing and mild on my stomach. I’ve tried FDGARD RECENTLY AND IT AND PEPSID ARE HARSG ON MY STOMACH. What can I do? Will Zantac come back on market soon. I cannot take protonix or anything in that family of drugs. Please help. Thank you.

  7. Lara Oneal says:

    I was only taking Zantac 25 mg per day and it worked well.

  8. Marjorie L Bennett says:

    What type 0f symtoms are. Caused by esophageal cancer or intestinal cancer. I’ve been taking it for more than 40 years. The first time was for stomach ulcers, the 175 mg dose 1 or 2 once or twice a day. I’ve continued to take it because of heartburn and to try to prevent ulcers. I’ve had them at least twice, possibly 3 times. I tend to get ulcers easily. Pepcid used to work but the price plus being chewable made that difficult. Cancer also runs in my family. I’m very concerned.. .

  9. Sharon Oliver says:

    I have been taking this medication for years and there is nothing else out there that helps me with my heartbreak I cannot eat anything without having heartburn so what now? I am not overweight I have heartburn every single day Prilosec nxivm none of that works! I eat right drink right exercise and still have heartburn!

    • Hi Sharon, I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. We can’t answer any specific medical questions here on the blog, but we encourage you to reach out to your doctor so they can help you figure out a good solution.

  10. J says:

    Nothing works for me as well as Ranitidine. UNFORTUNATELY, it seems as if it has ALL been pulled from the market. Is there any out there that is safe, AND AVAILABLE?

  11. BONNIE SHORT says:

    I WAS PRESCRIBED RANITIDINE 150MG TAB IN MAY, 2019 & HAVE BEEN TAKING TWO DAILY. WHAT ARE SOME SIDE EFFECTS? IS DEPRESSION, PANIC, ANXIETY ONE OF THEM?
    I’VE QUIT THIS MORNING SINCE I WAS TOLD OF THE RECALL BY MY PHARMASIST, HOWEVER; WOULD JUST LIKE AN OPINION OF SIDE EFFECTS.
    THANK YOU

  12. MILDRED G FORSETH says:

    My husband been on them for years has had stomach problems and is always in pain. He just got the notification of the recall from the VA. I am going to call them on Monday
    they said to either throw them out or bring them back to them. I don’t know what to do

  13. Thomas says:

    I’ve have taken zantac for a very long time i can’t understand why they make something that works but it’s worse for you

  14. Leon says:

    Have been taking Ranitidine for many years. This recall will not help with my gerd. Anythkng else available ?….and SAFE?

  15. Harriet Evington says:

    What are the it numbers on the recalls?

    • Hi Harriet, the best source for ongoing updates on this recall is the FDA updates page. They have been adding information as updates have occurred, including affected brands, lot numbers, etc. As always, if you still have any questions about what to do, or what to take, we’d encourage you to reach out to your doctor. Thanks for reading!

  16. Judy Chernak says:

    In your information you suggest the common preventative, not “laying” down after a large meal, etc.” The correct advice is not “lying” down, or not “laying yourself” down, and/or “laying” Zantac pills down on your table prior to returning them to your pharmacy or grocery store and never touching them again. The word “lay” must have an object, such as laying yourself down with heartburn pain, laying the pills on the table far away from you, laying the money received from your Zantac returns on the table with a note to donate it to charity or designate it towards your medical bills, etc. However, you will not get heartburn from this advice and don’t need to consult your doctor about it; just give a gentle nod of thanks to your English teacher of long ago if you remembered this often abused or ignored grammar lesson. And I would appreciate if no one replies with some version of, “Is ‘He laid her…’ correct?” It may be grammatically correct, as in “He carried his bride over the threshold of their new home and gently laid her on the sofa to rest after the wedding celebration.” but is not used in polite conversation

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