Zantac recalls just ‘the tip of the iceberg’ for CV drug impurities

It’s been more than six weeks since Zantac and generic formulas of ranitidine were pulled from pharmacy shelves due to carcinogenic impurities, but physicians in Pittsburgh aren’t convinced the recalls are over.

Raghu Tadikamalla, a cardiologist with the Allegheny Health Network, told WPXI Pittsburgh that he expects other CV drugs—not just heartburn meds like Zantac—will face problems in the coming months. Ranitidine was first called into question by the FDA in September after the agency discovered trace amounts of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in batches of the pills, but recalls of BP drugs like valsartan and losartan stretch back more than a year.

“This may be the tip of the iceberg, because we only found out about this a year ago and the FDA is starting to test other medications,” Tadikamalla said. “I think from time to time we’re going to find more lots of different medications being recalled. We’re going to have to deal with it and go with it as time goes on.”

Experts have acknowledged that the amount of NDMA in cardiovascular medications is low, but it can’t be neglected. The FDA recommends that patients taking ranitidine or any of the tainted BP drugs talk to their doctor about safer alternatives.

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