No association between use of ranitidine and risk of cancer

Nature, the world’s leading multidisciplinary science Journal, publishes important findings

Kochi: A recent study published in scientific reports in the journal Nature finds that there is no link between the use of ranitidine and cancer. Ranitidine is used to treat and prevent gastric ulcers. The recent study evaluated the records of 12,680 ranitidine users and 12,680 other H2RA (ranitidine like medicines) users retrospectively.  [1]

The study was conducted in South Korea on the alleged link between the use of ranitidine and cancer, which has concluded the lengthening debate on the alleged link between the use of ranitidine and the risk of cancer.

Publication of the study in ‘Nature’ further authenticates the findings of the study.Nature is a weekly international journal publishing the finest peer-reviewed research in all fields of science and technology based on its originality, importance, interdisciplinary interest, timeliness, accessibility, elegance and surprising conclusions. As per data available on the website, only 7% to 8 of submitted articles qualify for final publishing after stringent editorial review.

N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) is a probable human carcinogen, based on laboratory studies, its effects on humans rely on observational studies. Following the detection of unacceptable levels of NDMA impurities in many ranitidine products in 2019, measures were taken to withdraw ranitidine from the market.

Speaking about the research and negating the risk of the association of cancer with the use of ranitidine, one of the lead researchers, Ju-Young Shin, Sungkyunkwan University Seoul, Republic of Korea and his colleagues stated, “We found no association between ranitidine with potential NDMA impurities and risk of major individual malignancies and overall cancer.” [1]

“The South Korean retrospective study published in nature has further affirmed the findings of previous studies concluding no association between ranitidine and cancer. The molecule has a history of 43 years and is safe to use as per available scientific evidence,” said Dr Pradeep Mathew, Managing Director, Evershine Hospital, Kochi, Kerala.

Ranitidine has been in existence for over four decades and has been on the WHO list of essential medicines for several years. It is commonly used in the treatment of peptic ulcer disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and Zollinger–Ellison syndrome. Large and small pharmaceuticals manufacture it.

“The debate on ranitidine and its association has been going on for 3 years; however, the bug (molecule) has been in the market for over 4 decades. And I am the one who has been doing this for almost 40 years. All of us have used it over the years for treating our patients for indigestion, heartburn and acid reflux. In my practice, I haven’t come across a single patient so far resulted in cancer while using. The latest retrospective study published in Nature provides substantial evidence that it is safe to use in aforesaid indications,” said Dr Subhash C Jain, Former, Senior Preventive Cardiologist at G B Pant Hospital, MAMC, Delhi.  

The recent study provided no evidence of the association of NDMA impurities in ranitidine products with cancer risk, which further substantiates the US district court findings in which the Florida court dismissed almost 2,500 lawsuits alleging links between heartburn medication Zantac (Ranitidine) and cancer. The judge had said that almost 2,500 lawsuits filed in federal court by plaintiffs were based on flawed science and that the only reliable testing of the blockbuster drug undertaken showed an ‘unprovable risk of cancer’.


[1] Association between ranitidine use with potential NDMA impurities and risk of cancer in Korea | Scientific Reports (

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