Ranitidine, the active ingredient in zantac, is an H2 blocker, which helps reduce stomach acid. It's used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and peptic ulcer disease.
It also helps prevent GERD. If you have a history of GERD or you're worried about your heartburn, ask your doctor about taking zantac.
In April 2020, the FDA asked that all manufacturers of Zantac/ranitidine products stop selling them because they were exposing consumers to a probable cancer-causing substance called NDMA. NDMA is found naturally in foods and water, but the levels of the substance in some samples of Zantac/ranitidine increased over time and when stored at higher temperatures.
NDMA may also be associated with certain types of cancer, including colorectal cancer and stomach cancer. In addition, NDMA might cause pancytopenia, which is a blood disorder that results in a decrease of all blood cells.
Sanofi Consumer Healthcare reformulated the original Zantac with famotidine, an H2 blocker that doesn't carry the same risks from NDMA as ranitidine. Now available over-the-counter, Zantac 360 is a new option for people with GERD who need a quick-acting antacid. It works quickly and lasts up to 12 hours.