The Ministry of Health has issued a recall on ranitidine medications in the British Virgin Islands.
Randintine — a stomach acid production medication that is sold under the trade name Zantac and other brands — was recalled because of reports that the drug contains a semi-volatile, cancer-causing chemical.
These reports came from several reputable international health organisations which have singled out all ranitidine medications made by the companies Apotex Corp, Sanoz Inc, Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline.
“The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the United Kingdom and other regulators have indicated that some ranitidine medicines, including brand and generic, contain a nitrosamine impurity called N-Nitrosodimethylamine, which has been classified as a probable human carcinogen by the World Health Organization,” said a media release from the ministry on Thursday, October 24.
Dispensing of drug to be discontinued
Chief of Drugs and Pharmaceutical Services, Gracia Wheatley-Smith said that the ministry is urging all businesses — whether supermarkets or pharmacies — to immediately discontinue from dispensing these products.
She said that all affected products should be placed in quarantine until contact is made with the various suppliers for further instructions.
The ministry is further advising patients and all pregnant women to refrain from taking Ranitidine, and instead consult their physician for an alternative treatment for any illnesses that require the usage of this drug.
Persons who may have recently taken the drug and are experiencing any problems as a result are also asked to contact their physician.
What is Ranitidine used for?
According to the aforesaid media release, “ranitidine medication is prescribed for the treatment of ulcers, reflux esophagitis, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome and other conditions”.
“It is also used for the relief of heartburn associated with acid indigestion and sour stomach brought on by food or drink that irritates the stomach,” the release further said.
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