Zantac Lawsuit: Why Was The Drug Pulled Out From Pharmacies? 

Updated on February 27, 2020

Zantac is a very common medicine that many may have already used. For those living outside of the United States, this is also most commonly known through its generic name, Ranitidine. This is a medication that’s given to people suffering from GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and ulcers. Patients who suffer from heartburn may also be prescribed this medicine. 

Unfortunately, despite the cure that it brings for its minor conditions, it also comes with strings attached, such as the alleged cause of stomach cancer and other types of cancers.

By now, you may have heard already of the all-too-famous and controversial Zantac lawsuit. Although it’s one of the most known reason, cancer from Zantac isn’t the only reason why this drug was pulled out from pharmacies. Read through below to find out.

1. Can Cause Blurred Vision

Blurred vision refers to the lack of sharpness of sight and the inability to see fine detail. While minor, in some cases, this can also be a pre-disposing sign of eye disease. It can also mean an impending stroke or migraine.

Of the many adverse side effects that Zantac manufacturers failed to warn about, one of the most common is blurred vision. Luckily, this is still a minor condition. But, if your eye doctor can find this link related to your long-term use of Zantac, then you should stop using it immediately.

2. Absence of Contraindications

Another reason that made Ranitidine (Zantac) so prevalent in use is due to the absence of contraindications. This means that it was always believed to be safe. 

This fact is also precisely how the Zantac lawsuit came to prosper, as the manufacturers were held liable for their misinformation. The only precaution that was given is if ranitidine was to be used for pediatric and geriatric patients, the dose will have to be adjusted.

But, in using Zantac, doctors should also be made aware of the fact that adjustments have to be made for patients that have impaired kidney and liver functions. 

Patients suffering from a disease known as porphyria should also limit their use of Zantac. That’s because porphyria can cause excess protein build-up, and in turn, ranitidine use can also increase these symptoms.

3. Can Cause Irregular Heart Rhythms

Irregular heart rhythm is also referred to as heart arrhythmia. This can happen when your heart beats too fast or irregularly. 

In mild cases, this can be harmless. But, a cause of alarm would be when it becomes too frequent. Even if you don’t have heart arrhythmia before, taking in Zantac causes irregular heart rhythm. 

Heart arrhythmia can also be an underlying cause of an impending, more severe heart problem. Common symptoms to look out for with irregular heart rhythms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fluttering in the chest
  • Chest pain
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Racing heartbeat
medicine concept. tablets on yellow. close up macro photo on yellow background

4. Can Cause Clay Colored Stools

Other than its aesthetic reason, clay-colored stools are a matter of worry. Usually, stools should be light to dark brown. Anything out of the ordinary should be a reason for concern, especially when you haven’t made any changes in your meals that would also warrant that kind of color in your feces. 

In worst cases, a change in the color of a person’s stool can mean anything from the following:

  • Diverticular disease
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Cancers
  • Celiac disease
  • Hemorrhoids

This list isn’t as comprehensive as it should be, as it only names a few. It can go even further and more complicated. 

Unfortunately, in this list alone, two of the kinds of diseases enumerated are found to be direct consequences of Zantac intake. These are cancers, in all its forms, and gallbladder disease.

5. Coughing Up Mucus

Coughing is normal, but coughing up mucus isn’t. 

Coughing is a natural reflex of the body. For others, this can happen when they’re sick while there are those that also cough when irritants are in their throat area. Coughing up mucus is a sign that there may be a possible infection in your respiratory tract. 

In its early stage, this infection isn’t generally dangerous. But, when it progresses, it can also be a sign of impending danger.

In severe cases, coughing up mucus may also be associated with cancers. This is very important to note, especially when you’ve been taking Zantac since it’s also found that Zantac was also a possible course of stomach, throat, esophageal, and liver cancers.


Ranitidine was once considered generally safe simply because of its use in treating minor diseases. Patients who took Zantac, or ranitidine, certainly didn’t expect that much more was in store for them in the future. 

Because of its widespread availability, it was also considered a first-line treatment for acid reflux and heartburn. Unfortunately, it also held the adverse side effects enumerated above. These, and many more, led to the recall of ranitidine in pharmacies all over the world.

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