FDA: Low levels of probable carcinogen found in common heartburn drugs

FDA: Low levels of probable carcinogen found in common heartburn drugs
The FDA says a probable carcinogen was found in common acid-reducing and heartburn medications. (Source: CNN)

(CNN/Gray News) – Some common acid-reducing and heartburn drugs contain low levels of a probable carcinogen, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA said “some ranitidine medicines, including some products commonly known as the brand-name drug Zantac,” contain small amounts of a substance called N-nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA.

It’s the same probable carcinogen that prompted a July recall of several blood pressure medications.

FDA spokesman Jeremy Kahn said the discovery isn’t prompting a recall.

“So far, NDMA has been found in ranitidine in low levels and we are not calling for consumers and patients to stop taking ranitidine at this time," Kahn told CNN.

The FDA is investigating to find the source of the impurity, and will “take appropriate measures based on the results of the ongoing investigation,” the agency said on its website.

“We do not have any information to share on how many companies’ products could be affected," Kahn told CNN. "The FDA will share more information with the public and industry as we learn more throughout the investigation.”

The FDA said, “Although NDMA may cause harm in large amounts, the levels the FDA is finding in ranitidine from preliminary tests barely exceed amounts you might expect to find in common foods.”

The agency said people don’t need to stop taking the medicine at this time, but those on a prescription version who want to discontinue use should talk to their doctor about other treatment options.

Those taking over-the-counter ranitidine could consider using other over-the-counter medicines approved for their condition.

Copyright 2019 CNN. All rights reserved. Gray Television Group, Inc. contributed to this report.