Drug recalls are nothing new. Generic formulations of popular medications may be synthesized in various ways by different pharma manufacturers, with the biologically active ingredient staying intact. The popular antireflux medication ranitidine – first recalled from selective manufacturers last fall – has been totally, immediately removed from the market, due to the inclusion of an environmental contaminant that is carcinogenic if taken in sufficient quantities.
NDMA is an environmental contaminant that is found in water and foods, including dairy products, vegetables, and grilled meats. Its classification as a probable carcinogen is based on studies in animals; studies in humans are very limited.
It is important to know that the NDMA in ranitidine products does not pose any immediate health risks. Although classified as a probable carcinogen, NDMA may cause cancer only after exposure to high doses over a long period of time.