April 2020 update: The FDA has recalled all over-the-counter and prescription forms of ranitidine, which includes Zantac. If you take ranitidine, contact your health care provider to discuss other treatment options.
January 2020 update: The FDA has announced two more recalls of prescription forms of ranitidine. The FDA also notified the public about a recall of nizatidine, a chemically similar antacid.
In September, 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.
Let me know what to do . I take a lot of Zantac
Hi Carol, thanks for your comment. We can not give specific medical advice, but encourage you to reach out to your doctor if you have any questions.
I take ranitidine generic for zantac 150 mg tablets s429 pill is there a recall on this medication please let me know thank you.
Hi Tina, we can’t offer specific medical advice, but encourage you to reach out to your doctor for recommendations. Thank you for reading!
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
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
Hi Dorcas, we can’t offer medical advice, but we encourage you to reach out to your doctor to get a specific recommendation.
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!
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.
Hi Lara, thanks for your comment. We can’t offer specific medical advice, but would suggest that you reach out to your doctor for a recommendation.
I was only taking Zantac 25 mg per day and it worked well.
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.. .
Hi Marjorie, thanks for reading. We can’t offer medical advice, but would encourage you to share your concerns with your doctor.
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.
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?
Hi J, the FDA recall page is a great source of information since this is all continuing to change, but you may want to speak directly to your doctor about if/where you can find it, or even some alternatives if necessary.
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.
Hi Bonnie, thanks for reading! We aren’t able to address specific medical questions like this, but we encourage you to reach out to your doctor — they certainly can!
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
Hi Mildred, thanks for your comment. We’re sorry you’re having to deal with this! We’d encourage you to speak directly with your doctor about any questions. They can help you figure out what to do next.
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
Hi Thomas, thanks for your comment. I know a lot of folks are in the same boat. If you have any questions about what to do next, we’d encourage you to reach out to your doctor.
Have been taking Ranitidine for many years. This recall will not help with my gerd. Anythkng else available ?….and SAFE?
Hi Leon, there are a few alternatives mentioned above, but we can’t give any individual medical advice. We’d encourage you to reach out to your doctor to determine the best next step. Thanks for reading!
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!
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
Put a warning label on the box and put it back in the stores. It works better than anything else out there.
I have GERD and chronic gastritis and have taken ranitidine for years; it has been very effective. I have taken H2 blockers when they were by prescription as well as all PPIs. I cannot take PPIs; they cause bladder pain. Tagamet and Pepcid did not help. I’ve followed all other recommendations for GERD as recommended by my gastroenterologist. I still have heartburn which is caused by other neccessary prescriptions, so what do I do now?
Hi Carol, I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. You aren’t alone — there are many others trying to figure out what to do now, too. Your gastroenterologist is going to be the best one to figure out a new plan for some relief. I hope you’re able to get some relief soon.
Just wondering if the Rx ranitidine or Zantac are still available with a prescription
Hi Randy, The FDA website has a page with all the Zantac recall updates, and that’s a great source to see the different manufacturers and formulations that have been recalled. Many manufacturers have recalled even prescription Zantac and ranitidine. Your doctor or pharmacist will have the most complete information for you about availability of any other manufacturers, or perhaps something else to try in the meantime if it is not available. Thanks for reading, and best of luck to you. Many are in the same boat!
Zantac is the only medicine that has ever worked for me. I don’t even have to take it daily anymore. But nothing, I mean NOTHING, else works. Please tell me it will be back on the market at some time. I will run out at some point.
Seems it is useless asking anything on here, says go your dr.
Nothing works for me except Ranitidine. A warning label would have been a good idea. If pharmaceutical companies come out with a new version of Ranitidine that costs 10 times more, I will be even more cynical than I am now. (think albuterol and combivent). PS: Pepcid, Nexium, and Prilocec make my digestive problems worse.
since this recall i stopped taking ranitidine and now i only take calcium carbonate chewable tablets (generic store brand of tums) during the day and before bed. ir there any known risk from long term use of chewable calcium tablets? hopefully they are safer than all these chemical concoctions out there with long term side effects. big drug companies care only about their big profits not peoples health!
I don’t have a doctor to go zantac was the only thing that works for me now I am sick every day and night eating pepermints Tums rollaids etc…They said MIGHT cause cancer. Everything causes cancer it is so unfair that the government FDA got to choose what I need and forse people to be sick. We should have a choice. I’m 60 years old and I get to have heart burn for the rest of my days.
I also am having a terrible time trying to find a replacement medication for Zantac. This is the only medication that works for me. I don’t take regularly, only as needed maybe twice a month. Is it safe to take sparingly? Please something has to be done.
Hi Linda, I’m so sorry you’re in this situation. This recall has affected so many people in similar ways. I wish we could give you personalized advice, but we just cannot. The best person to speak with about this would be your doctor or pharmacist.
I have taken ranitidine since I was 19 yrs old. I had tried other meds, prilosec was a big one back then. Tried Nexium next still nothing but problems. Tried ranitidine and problem solved. I not only have an extreme case of Acid Reflux Disease I also have an extreme case of a Hiatal Hernia. Ranitidine was and is the only medication that keeps my acid reflux under control but my hiatal hernia too. I did end up having to add lansoprazole to my meds. Now, without ranitidine, I’ve doubled up on the lansoprazole. I took 150mg two times a day to keep my issues under control. It’s been 30-60 days and I already had a hiatal hernia problem. They NEED to fix this and NOW!
Apparently there are only specific lot numbers that are recalled. I have Zantac 150 manufactured by Boehinger Ingelheim Pharmaceutical (made in Spain) which is not on the FDA recall list. The voluntary shelf pulls included all boxes but not the specific lot numbers. Also is Canada continuing to sell Zantac?
Are there any tests that can be done now to see if the ranitidine I took affected me? I don’t really want to get cancer & THEN do something about it. The lot numbers that were recalled are the ones I have taken for a long time.
Will, they ever allow Ranitidine on the market again? It truly was the only thing that has worked for me
Questions about Zantac (Ranitidine) usage are not fully answered . The reply is usually ‘consult your doctor or pharmacist’. Now why did I (and everyone enquiring) not think of doing just that?!
Your (so called) answers to all of the questions suffering people ask , might as well be a form letter signifying absolutely nothing. We have been to our Doctors. We are asking your company for a
USEFUL alternative to Ranitidine.
Zantac has been off the market for a year now. Is it ever coming back? Nothing else works for me. I’ve been to my doctor and tried the very limited options. PPIs are too strong and once you’re on them you’re stuck on them.. I’m in agony now and would rather risk taking Zantac. I’ve used it daily for years. Why is it taking so long to sort out? As a drug so much money is being lost you’d have thought they’d want it back on the market ASAP
I have taken Zantac for years daily. Nothing else works. This has been off the market for over a year now so what’s happening? Why is it taking so long to remedy.? I’m in agony now with no quality of life. I’d happily carry on taking them with or without this supposed toxin. You would think given the volume of people globally that take Zantac and the money they’re losing they’d be wanting it back on the market ASAP
I had been taking Ranitidine for a lot of years. I ask a pharmacist what was a good alternative. The pharmacist told me that Pepcid was a good choice. So I bought the equate brand Famotidine extra strength 20 mg. I take 1 tablet in the morning and it works good for me.
Here’s what I don’t get. The FDA says there was a contaminant in Zantac. Well, they know what the contaminant is, just make sure when you REmanufacture Zantac that it doesn’t contain NDMA. And put Zantac back on the market. You could even say the NEW Zantac without NDMA. Let’s get cracking on this, millions of people rely on this simple antacid that has worked SO well, for SO many, myself included. The manufacturers of Zantac are losing money every day that Zantac is off the shelves. Just FIX the problem and put it back out there. Like so many people have commented, Zantac was the ONLY acid reducer that consistently worked for me.
i have taken ranitadine since i was 35. it is the only medicine that worked for my gerd. i have taken zantac ;prilosec and other medicines. even one from the doctor. which caused horrible side effects. i never had gotten stomach cancer or any symptoms from rainitadine.i guess you expect people to suffer. eating small meals and staying away from spicy meals. does not help. so you need to quit telling people that.