New Delhi, Sep 25 (IANS) After the Drugs Controller of India ordered an investigation into ranitidine, a medicine commonly used to counter stomach acidity, following reports that it causes cancer, physicians say further research is needed.
This fact is neither proven nor announced by the Union Health Ministry. Patients could go for Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI) for temporary relief from gastric acid disorders, doctors said.
“It has recently been brought to light that ranitidine could be having a cancer causing impurity N-Nitrosodimethylanine (NDMA). The patients who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux, commonly known as acid reflux or acidity, can also be treated with PPI in the place of ranitidine,” Zeenat Ahmed, Senior Consultant, the Department of Internal Medicine at Jaypee Hospital in Noida, told IANS.
Some drug regulators in other countries have found it to contain a chemical compound that can cause cancer. “People should not consume these medicines without prescription or doctor’s consultation,” Ahmed stressed.
On Tuesday, Drugs Controller V.G. Somani issued a directive alerting states about ranitidine and telling them to ask drug manufacturers to take measures for the patient safety.
Niranjan Naik, Director, Surgical Oncology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI) in Gurugram, said ranitidine was one of the oldest drugs used for acid peptic disease.
“The present controversy is due an impurity NDMA associated with some brands. It needs further research to attribute the blame to ranitidine, one of the most economical options available for treatment of acid peptic diseases,” Naik said.
According to Manisha Arora, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine at Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute in Delhi, at present it’s difficult to name an alternative to this over-the-counter (OTC) drug.