Zantac is set to be voluntarily recalled from Victorian shelves.
Zantac is set to be voluntarily recalled from Victorian shelves.

Popular heartburn meds to be taken off shelves

A HEARTBURN medication popular with Victorians will be taken off shelves after fears it could be linked to cancer.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration is expected to today update its advice on medications containing ranitidine, which is known as Zantac.

It follows another voluntary recall on September 17 of ranitidine which followed news the drug had been taken off shelves in North America and the EU.

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

Long-term exposure, over years, to NDMA can increase an individual's risk of developing cancer - but the risk at levels identified in ranitidine so far is considered low.

Anthony Tassone, Victorian President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia told the Herald Sun anyone taking ranitidine for heart burn, indigestion or stomach ulcers should speak to their doctor or pharmacist about an alternative.

"There are alternatives available both over the counter and with a prescription."

Ranitidine, which is marketed in Australia under the brand name Zantac and various generic brands, is used to reduce stomach acid and is commonly used to treat heartburn. It may also be prescribed by a doctor to treat and prevent gastric reflux and ulcers.

Ranitidine is available in Australia as a prescription medicine and can also be purchased without a prescription from pharmacies, supermarkets and other retailers.