Fort Worth, Texas,
13:23 PM

Does Zantac cause cancer?

What Parents Need to Know About Common Acid Blockers Used to Stop Reflux

I’ve never been a big proponent of giving a baby medication for normal fussiness or spitting up.

But when the fussiness symptoms are severe and consistent with reflux or the baby is not gaining weight well, treatment with an acid reduction medication is considered.

One common medication is a group of acid reducers known as H2-blockers, with the most common example containing ranitidine.

Ranitidine is in the news right now because the FDA recently reported that they had found small amount of a potentially cancer causing chemical in brand name and generic Zantac (ranitidine) products.

CVS Pharmacy has stopped selling products which contain ranitidine (Zantac as well as its generic version of the heartburn medication) until further notice.

According to the FDA, Zantac has potential cancer-causing chemicals. But those are found in anything else we eat, breathe, sleep, live on.

For now, here’s what we do know:

  1. There are likely many babies who have been placed on ranitidine unnecessarily for what is normal fussiness or normal spit up.
  2. There are also likely many babies and children who have been started on Zantac but no longer need the medication and have been passively continued on it.

We don’t know the long-term effects, but this is your baby we are talking about. So, even if the risk is minimal it would be reasonable to consider your baby's case and have a conversation with your doctor about whether coming off the medication might be the right thing to do anyway.

Get to know Justin Smith, M.D.

Justin Smith, M.D., is a pediatrician in Trophy Club  and the Medical Advisor for Digital Health for Cook Children's in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Smith is an experienced keynote speaker for a variety of topics including pediatric/parenting topics, healthcare social media and physician leadership. If you are interested in having Dr. Smith present to your conference or meeting, please contact him at

He has an active community on both Facebook and Twitter as @TheDocSmitty and writes weekly for Cook Children's He believes that strategic use of social media and technology by pediatricians to connect with families can deepen their relationship and provide a new level of convenience for both of their busy lifestyles. Dr. Smith’s innovative pediatric clinic, a pediatric clinic “designed by you,” open now. Click to learn more. To make an appointment, call 817-347-8100.


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