FDA investigating whether Zantac causes carcinogens to form in users

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NEW YORK, Oct 24 (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating whether the popular heartburn drug Zantac causes carcinogens to form in the bodies of users, in an effort to fully understand the risks posed by the already recalled drug, the agency's spokesman said on Thursday.

The issue of whether ranitidine, commonly known as Zantac, causes levels of the probable carcinogen N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) to rise in users' bodies has been raised previously by Valisure, an online pharmacy that originally flagged the potential contamination of ranitidine to the FDA.

Zantac, sold over-the-counter in the United States by French drugmaker Sanofi SA

But FDA spokesman Jeremy Kahn said the regulator is now "working to understand what happens to NDMA levels in the body, after ranitidine has been exposed to acid in the stomach."

Zantac has been on the market for more than 35 years and was originally sold by Glaxo Holdings Ltd, now a part of GlaxoSmithKline PLC. GSK.L At one point it was the top-selling drug in the world.

Representatives of GSK and Sanofi were not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Michael Erman; Editing by Chris Reese and Dan Grebler)

((michael.erman@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646-223-6021; Reuters Messaging: michael.erman.thomsonreuters.com@thomsonreuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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