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Heartburn is a physical digestive experienced by millions of people every day. Wit irritation of the esophagus, heartburn leads to a burning discomfort just below your breastbone or within your upper stomach region. Despite its name, heartburn has less to do with your cardiac health and everything to do with the amount of acid in your stomach. If left untreated, heartburn can last up to several hours.
Individuals experience heartburn for various reasons, some of which include stress, overeating, obesity, pregnancy, smoking, constipation, or acidic foods. Some known foods for inducing heartburn are tomatoes, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, garlic and onions, and citrus fruits. Meals that are higher in fat and oils can also lead to discomfort.
Leaving heartburn untreated can result in long-term damage to the esophagus, increase your risk of esophageal cancer, and even result in tooth decay. Consulting with a doctor after prolonged periods of heartburn may be critical to preventing a decrease in quality of life. While medications can help offset heartburn symptoms, consumers should recognize the risks associated with certain brands and refer to their physician for guidance.
In addition to consulting with a healthcare provider, some individuals find success in dealing with their heartburn via the following strategies:
- Cutting back on fatty and acidic foods
- Eating smaller meals and refraining from snacking before bed
- Avoiding tight-fitting clothes
- Losing weight and exercising regularly
- Quitting smoking
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Raising the head of the bed by several inches to maintain an elevated sleeping position
- Improving posture
- Decreasing stress
What is the problem with heartburn medication?
Millions of people around the country take heartburn medication at one time or another. Everyone gets occasional heartburn, and products like Zantac or ranitidine have claimed to alleviate this pain quickly. However, several popular acid reflux and heartburn medications have also been found to lead to cancer.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for ensuring consumers’ safety and protecting public health by evaluating food and cosmetics supplies as well as drugs, medical devices, and biological products. The products that are approved by the FDA have undergone rigorous safety and quality testing. Even for the products that do not require FDA approval, the agency maintains oversight and regulatory authority on any product deemed unsafe for use or consumption.
Recently, the FDA declared that the popular heartburn medication, Zantac, contained carcinogens. The discovery of carcinogens has resulted in the drug being pulled from production and off of store shelves. Knowing the details surrounding this recall and the potential implications on those who took it and developed cancer is extremely important.
What is Zantac, and what makes it dangerous?
Zantac was a popular heartburn medication intended to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), acid indigestion, heartburn, and peptic ulcer disease. It was previously available for purchase over the counter as well as by prescription. People relied on this medication to prevent the development of ulcers and to treat uncomfortable symptoms caused by heartburn.
Unfortunately, Zantac contained a chemical known as N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). This chemical has been declared by the Food and Drug Administration as a possible carcinogen, meaning that the chemical can cause cancer if ingested by humans. Typically, this chemical is found in low doses in medication, and at such small doses, it is considered harmless. But the Food and Drug Administration found the levels to be much higher in the Zantac medication.
The levels of NDMA in Zantac were so high that it would be unsafe for anyone to ingest the medication. Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration found that the longer Zantac sat in storage, the higher the levels of this dangerous chemical existed. This resulted in a full product recall in 2020. Manufacturers should be held responsible for the negligence that can lead to long term illness or even wrongful death.
What kind of complications can result from taking Zantac?
Medications often come with a list of potential risks that incur when taking a particular substance. Manufacturers are required to inform the public of these risks, even if it negatively impacts the likelihood of a sale. For example, most medications used to treat depression will inform patients that the substance could worsen their mental state. It is then up to the consumer whether they accept the risks and continue to pursue that particular treatment.
Many people who took Zantac had no idea that the drug contained harmful chemicals, and the manufacturers of Zantac did not make this known to the public. Thus, consumers were unable to make their own decision about whether to continue with the treatment. Consumers took this medication on a regular basis and therefore exposed themselves to potentially cancer-causing chemicals. Zantac has since been associated with various diseases, including lung and liver cancer and liver disease.
The list of potential medical issues associated with Zantac includes the following:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Headaches and dizziness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal cramps
- B-12 deficiencies
- Low platelet levels
- Hair Loss
- Skin Rashes
- Liver Failure
- Various cancers, including intestinal, kidney, liver, pancreatic, brain, blood, bladder, skin, stomach, esophageal, and more
Who manufactures Zantac?
Zantac was manufactured by a company called Sanofi. These manufacturers knew the medication could present complications and had a duty to warn the public about the danger. However, they failed to remove Zantac from the shelves immediately. Big pharmaceutical companies saw such significant profit margins that they ignored critical health data that indicated the medication might not be safe for consumers.
Companies have much to gain from manufacturing medications that treat everyday symptoms such as heartburn. However, they also have a responsibility to keep the public safe, something that Sanofi has failed to do. As a result, any individual who has been diagnosed with cancer as a result of consuming this medication may be entitled to compensation.
I got cancer as a result of Zantac; what should I do?
To file a successful claim, you must be able to effectively prove that your cancer diagnosis resulted from taking Zantac. You have to show either through physician records or pharmacy records that you were prescribed the heartburn medication. If you did not have a physician who prescribed you the medication, you must have receipts showing that you purchased Zantac over the counter on a continuous basis.
Consult with your healthcare professional and discuss the longevity of your use of Zantac. Inquire about your symptoms and the timeline on which you became ill. Ask your doctor if they believe your consumption of Zantac is directly related to your current illness.
If you are able to show a connection between your diagnosis and history of consuming Zantac and a physician states that there is a causal link, you may proceed with a lawsuit against the manufacturers. If you are successful in your claim, you may be entitled to medical expenses related to cancer, past and future wage loss, past and future pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, loss of enjoyment of life, and possibly punitive damages.
Why should I file a claim?
Big pharmaceutical companies should be held liable for their role in maintaining a safe consumer medication market. Manufacturers that do not disclose pertinent health risks need to be reprimanded for endangering the public and failing to live up to FDA standards. Profit should not be the sole motivator behind large companies producing vital medication for the masses. By properly filing a claim, you are serving as a reminder to pharmaceutical companies and distributors that your health should be a priority over profit.
Suppose it can be proven that your medical diagnosis was a result of taking Zantac. In that case, the financial compensation may assist with paying short and long-term damages, including loss of income, emotional distress, medical expenses, and loss of enjoyment of life. Although it cannot take back the damage that has already been done by Sanofi, financial compensation may offer some support and stability during an otherwise difficult time.
How soon do I need to file a claim?
According to Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a),(e),(k), the statute of limitations for filing a civil claim is four years from the date the injury or from when the injury should have been discovered. Under this statute of limitations, a claim should be filed within four years of the official diagnosis. It is essential that a claim is filed within the deadline, or you may not be eligible for compensation.
Contact an attorney today!
Approaching insurance agencies on your own can prove to be a difficult and overwhelming task. It is always best to have an attorney on your side who knows the law’s intricacies and can properly present your claim. The attorneys at the Lopez Law Group are here to assist. We have years of experience handling claims against large insurance companies and can get you the compensation you deserve.
We can be reached at 727-933-0015. Our consultations are always free, and we will be able to tell you whether or not you may have a potential claim. Don’t wait. Call today!