Millions of people across the United States have been using Zantac (ranitidine) heartburn medicine for a long time. However, in April 2020, the FDA demanded all manufacturing companies withdraw their over the counter and prescription ranitidine products known as brand name Zantac. Now consumers should dispose of the unused ranitidine drugs.
Those who have tried ranitidine products are looking for other drugs with the same efficacy. In this guide, you will take a closer look at all the available Zantac alternatives. Including their efficiency, safety, and impact. But, before you take any over the counter medications, consult with a doctor first. Make sure the drugs you take are not interfering with any other medications you might be using.
Disclaimer: The information listed on this page is not meant to treat or diagnose health problems. But, to provide information for educational purposes only. The idea of this page is to use this health information on popular prescription drugs to answer any question consumers might be having. All rights reserved.
Why Did FDA Recall Zantac?
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) demanded a recall for generic ranitidine, such as Zantac. Because it could feature unacceptable levels of NDMA. Drug companies had to withdraw their generic ranitidine from the market due to possible NDMA contamination, which is a known human carcinogen.
N nitrosodimethylamine NDMA is a volatile organic compound. If the FDA testing method shows NDMA levels higher than 96 nanograms per day (acceptable daily intake), then according to the FDA the carcinogen N nitrosodimethylamine could pose a threat to the human system. Especially when Zantac is kept under improper storage conditions.
Zantac will remain stable for 7 days at room temperatures, studies show. When Zantac is exposed to too much heat, even when packaged, the NDMA can increase. That’s why many Masters of Public Health and experts, like the ones at the University of Florida, want to know more about Zantac before it can return to the market. From a political science perspective, a drug like Zantac must meet all the necessary health requirements before it can be used to help the community.
The levels of NDMA is not the only concern. Due to infant mortality, the product is not recommended for infants or young children. Data indicates infants that received ranitidine had a 4-fold higher mortality rate risk. To reduce the possibility of NDMA exposure and contamination, the Food and Drug Administration is advising patients to use suitable other drugs. Other drugs that don’t pose a serious risk for contamination or cancer.
What Is Equivalent to Ranitidine (Zantac)?
Two drug classes could be viable Zantac alternatives. These Zantac alternatives include H2 histamine receptor antagonists (also known as H2 blockers) or proton pump inhibitors PPIs.
Proton Pump Inhibitors PPIs
PPIs are a class of FDA-approved drugs and FDA approved them as a practical alternative to ranitidine medications. They are meant to treat heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease, stomach ulcers, or lower esophagus damage. These PPIs include:
- Brand name: Prilosec (Omeprazole)
- Brand name: Prevacid (Omeprazole/Lansoprazole)
- Brand name: Nexium (Lansoprazole/Esomeprazole)
- Brand name: Pepcid (Famotidine)
- Brand name: Tagamet (Cimetidine)
With options such as these, patients can treat their heartburn and boost their overall health. Experts explain that PPIs are a class of medications that can be excellent alternatives to Zantac. They impact the human body by blocking acid secretion.
Proton pump inhibitors make great alternatives to Zantac because they are used for various stomach acid conditions to ameliorate the stomach lining. By interfering with specific enzymes the proton pumps will balance stomach acid production and benefit the stomach lining cells. Making them practical Zantac alternatives.
H2 Histamine Receptor Antagonists
The receptor antagonists, such as Pepcid Famotidine and Tagamet Cimetidine can also come in handy as Zantac alternatives. These H2 blockers are designed to block the parietal cells, also known as the histamine cells in the human stomach. The h2 blockers help patients avoid stimulating the proton pump enzymes and help balance the acid production.
An H2 blocker is more than capable of managing heartburn symptoms. These h2 histamine receptor antagonists, especially Pepcid can work quicker than PPIs. That’s why h2 histamine is often the go-to choice for treating occasional and sudden acid reflux.
Which Is Better Zantac or Pepcid?
Pepcid is a great choice for heartburn medications when you don’t want to use Zantac. However, these histamine receptor antagonists might not last too long or start working as fast as similar antacids, like the brand name Zantac.
Zantac is considered a quick-acting antacid and provides immediate relief. But, that doesn’t mean Pepcid is not effective. On the contrary, Pepcid is a great Zantac alternative for preventing recurring duodenal and stomach ulcers. It can treat Zollinger-Ellison syndrome and gastroesophageal reflux disease, peptic ulcer disease, just like Zantac does.
According to a medical student from George Washington University, medicine like Nizatidine has a limited NDMA. This makes products like Nizatidine excellent alternatives and safe replacements for heartburn. As replacements for Zantac; Pepcid, cimetidine, and Nizatidine seem to be well-tolerated, but can still cause adverse effects.
Is Pepcid Similar to Zantac?
Both Zantac and Pepcid work similarly and treat related conditions. They block histamine action and get the digestive system back on track. People use Pepcid as a substitute for zantac, these brand name medications used for managing digestive issues, gastric, heartburn, and duodenal ulcer.
Since they are both antihistamines, their primary purpose is to decrease acid production. They can interact with similar medicine and cause almost identical side effects. These side effects include diarrhea, constipation, nausea, etc.
Other Key Facts
It’s important to note that commonly used antacids may cause vitamin B12 deficiency. When taken for over 2 years, products like Nexium and Prilosec can result in various levels of vitamin deficiency. So, don’t forget to watch your vitamin intake when using antacids for heartburn.
If you don’t want to depend on those replacements for ranitidine, then practice some lifestyle changes that will benefit overall health. With adequate lifestyle modifications, people can go a long way. Instead of opting for large meals, doctors are suggesting smaller portions per day.
For those looking for non-medical alternatives, reducing fat intake, avoiding tobacco, alcohol, and spicy food can help. But, sometimes, you will have no choice but to rely on h2 histamine receptor antagonists or other replacement options when you want to stop taking Zantac. Ask your doctor for advice if you don’t know which ranitidine replacements and which substitute for ranitidine to go for.