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Risk of Kidney Cancer After Ranitidine Exposure: Danish Population–Based Study

By: Julia Fiederlein
Posted: Tuesday, December 21, 2021

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency recently requested the withdrawal of all prescription and over-the-counter drugs containing the H2-receptor antagonist ranitidine because of high levels of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a probable human carcinogen, according to Henrik Toft Sørensen, MD, PhD, DMSc, DSc, of the Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark, and colleagues. A nationwide, population-based cohort study, which was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, examined whether the use of ranitidine may increase the risk of kidney cancer through urinary excretion of NDMA.

“This study…provided little evidence of any substantially increased risk of kidney cancer in ranitidine exposed individuals,” the investigators commented. “Thus, our findings suggest that the N-nitrosodimethylamine contamination found in ranitidine did not substantially impact kidney cancer occurrence in our population.”

Using data from nationwide medical registries, the investigators identified adults who redeemed at least two prescriptions for ranitidine (n = 31,393), other H2-receptor antagonists (n = 65,384), or proton pump inhibitors (n = 509,849) between 1996 and 2008. A total of 107 kidney cancers were reported in those who used ranitidine. Compared with other H2-receptor antagonists and proton pump inhibitors, the weighted hazard ratios were 0.89 and 0.87, respectively.

“These findings are reassuring for previous ranitidine users,” the investigators remarked. Of note, the results of this study also did not seem to suggest a substantial increase in the incidence rates of bladder cancer.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.



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