Rutgers University experts are available to comment on the Food and Drug Administration’s warning about a cancer-causing chemical found in the over-the-counter drug Zantac, which prompted some pharmacies and retailers to pull the medication from their shelves.

“The public should know that there are alternatives to Zantac (generic name Ranitidine). People can opt for the good alternative Pepcid (generic name Famotidine) to relieve heartburn or other issues of indigestion,” said Professor Iris Udasin, medical director the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute’s (EOHSI) Clinical Center at the Rutgers School of Public Health.

Michael Gochfeld, a professor emeritus at EOHSI, said: “There could be a basic risk assessment performed for any current or past Zantac use if the FDA released the levels of the cancer-causing chemical which it found in some samples of Zantac. However, the likelihood of determining if generic drugs of the same kind in the hands of the public now is contaminated will be difficult. There also needs to be a clarification that Zantac is different from Xantac.”

“It’s important for consumers to speak with their pharmacists or doctors about alternatives to the medication recently recalled for potential cancer-causing ingredients” said Bruce Ruck, managing director of the New Jersey Poison Control Center at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School’s Department of Emergency Medicine. “The public must be vigilant about their own health and need to pay close attention to future reports naming other medications that may contain similar cancer-causing ingredients. It would be no surprise to see more medications pulled off the shelves. If you have questions or concerns about the safety of a medicine or product, call us at the NJ Poison Control Center, 1-800-222-1222, to speak with a healthcare professional 24/7/365.” 

To interview professors Iris Udasin and Michael Gochfeld, contact Maud Alobawone at [email protected] or at 908-248-1824.

To interview Bruce Ruck, contact Alicia Gambino at [email protected] or at 973-972-9280 ext.107.