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Popular heartburn medication voluntarily recalled amid fears of link to cancer

A popular heartburn medication looks set to be removed from Australian shelves, amid fears it has links to cancer.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration will today update its advice on medications containing ranitidine, which is sold as Zantac.

The medication has already been taken off shelves in Canada, the US, and the EU.

Two producers of ranitidine medications have already voluntarily recalled their products in Australia.

“From a pharmacy’s perspective, if we went to reorder ranitidine containing products that are used for heartburn, indigestion and stomach ulcers … we wouldn’t be able to,” Anthony Tassone, Victorian President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, told 3AW Breakfast.

“There’s actually no stock available from wholesalers at the moment.”

The medication has been voluntarily recalled after it was found to be contaminated with a probable carcinogenic chemical called NDMA.

While the products may be officially recalled by the TGA today, Mr Tassone said people who take the medication shouldn’t panic.

“With NDMA, the impurity they’ve found … the immediate health risks are pretty unlikely,” he said.

Anyone who is currently taking ranitidine is advised to speak to their doctor or pharmacist, as there are alternative medications available.

“There are options available over the counter without a prescription, as well as on a prescription from a doctor,” Mr Tassone said.

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Image: Drew Angerer