Zantac (ranitidine) is used to treat or relieve heartburn, acid indigestion, GERD and gastric ulcers. It belongs to a class of drugs called H2 blockers. The FDA issued a recall after Zantac made with ranitidine was found to contain the carcinogen NDMA. A reformulated Zantac, Zantac 360, is currently available with famotidine replacing ranitidine.

You are watching: How long does ranitidine stay in your system

Board-certified physicians medically review content to ensure its accuracy and quality. partners with Physicians’ Review Network Inc. to enlist specialists. PRN is a nationally recognized leader in providing independent medical reviews.

Reviewer specialties include internal medicine, gastroenterology, oncology, orthopedic surgery and psychiatry.

The antacid Zantac — known as ranitidine in generic form — was available over the counter or as a prescription in the United States until April 2020. You can no longer buy ranitidine products in the U.S.

After the market withdrawal of ranitidine products, Sanofi reformulated an over-the-counter version of Zantac 360 made with famotidine. The new Zantac 360 formula with famotidine is available in regular strength and maximum strength in the U.S.

Unlike the old Zantac formula made with ranitidine, the new Zantac 360 doesn’t come in prescription strength.

Consumers can safely buy and use Zantac 360 with famotidine wherever OTC medications are sold. The FDA hasn’t found any NDMA contamination in famotidine and has deemed it a safe alternative to the old ranitidine formula.

This page presents information about Zantac made with ranitidine.

Download Your Free Zantac Guide

Learn more about Zantac and how to take legal action if you developed cancer after taking the drug.

Get Your Free Guide

Zantac made with ranitidine was recalled because the FDA found traces of N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) — a chemical impurity that can cause cancer — in some batches of the drug.

Beginning in September 2019, manufacturers and pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens and Walmart pulled the drug off store shelves. In April 2020, the FDA requested all ranitidine products be removed from the market.

The FDA said its studies revealed that levels of NDMA in some ranitidine products increased over time and when stored at higher than room temperatures. The agency said consumers could be exposed to unacceptable levels of NDMA.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has said NDMA is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” It’s classified as a group 2A carcinogen because there is sufficient evidence that it could cause cancer in humans.

After the Zantac recalls and market withdrawal, lawsuits were filed against the drug’s manufacturers, including Sanofi. Zantac lawsuits claim the drug caused plaintiffs to develop cancer, including cancers of the bladder, breast, colon, esophagus, kidney, liver, skin, ovaries, prostate and stomach.

Zantac isn’t the only drug that has been recalled for NDMA contamination. The FDA announced recalls of valsartan, losartan and metformin because some batches tested positive for the toxic chemical.


Zantac (ranitidine) belongs to a class of acid-blocking drugs called H2 blockers. The active ingredient, ranitidine, works by blocking a chemical called histamine. This reduces the amount of acid in the stomach.

The drug starts to work in as little as 30 minutes. It can control acid production for up to 12 hours and reduce the frequency and severity of heartburn.

Zantac made with ranitidine was used to treat a variety of gastrointestinal disorders, including heartburn, GERD and gastric ulcers.

Over-the-counter and prescription versions of Zantac made with ranitidine have different usage instructions. Depending on the reason for its use, the dosages will vary.

Hospitals use the Zantac injection for patients with pathological hypersecretory conditions or intractable duodenal ulcers, or as an alternative to the oral medication.

OTC Directions

Over-the-counter Zantac treats heartburn with acid indigestion and sour stomach caused by eating or drinking certain foods or beverages. Children under 12 should not use Zantac without first getting approval from a health care provider.

Swallow one tablet with a glass of water for symptom relief. To prevent heartburn, swallow one tablet with a glass of water 30 to 60 minutes before eating or drinking. Do not take more than two tablets in 24 hours. Do not chew tablet.

Prescription Directions and Recommended Dosages

Prescription Zantac treats several acid-related conditions, from GERD to erosive esophagitis.

Children as young as 1 month old may take the drug, but researchers have not studied it in children younger than 1 month of age and cannot make dosing recommendations.

Providers should adjust the dosage for people with impaired kidney function.

Active Duodenal Ulcer150 mg twice daily or 300 mg once daily after the evening meal or at bedtime
Maintenance of Healing of Duodenal Ulcers150 mg at bedtime
Pathological Hypersecretory Conditions (such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome)150 mg twice a day. Some patients may need to administer ranitidine 150 mg doses more frequently. Providers may increase the dosage up to 6 g a day.
Benign Gastric Ulcer150 mg twice a day
Maintenance of Healing of Gastric Ulcers150 mg at bedtime
GERD150 mg twice a day
Erosive Esophagitis150 mg four times a day
Maintenance of Healing of Erosive Esophagitis150 mg twice a day
Pediatric Treatment of Duodenal and Gastric Ulcers2 to 4 mg/kg twice daily to a maximum of 300 mg/day
Pediatric Maintenance of Healing of Duodenal and Gastric Ulcers2 to 4 mg/kg once daily to a maximum of 150 mg/day
Pediatric Treatment of GERD and Erosive Esophagitis 5 to 10 mg/kg per day, usually given as two or three divided doses

Most Zantac side effects are typically mild and pass quickly. The most commonly reported adverse events include constipation, diarrhea and nausea or vomiting.

Rarely, some serious side effects such as skin rashes, liver failure and cardiac disorders may occur. There have been rare reports of agitation, confusion, depression and hallucinations in severely ill, elderly patients.

People with kidney disease, impaired renal function or liver problems should tell their doctors about their condition because ranitidine is excreted by the kidneys and metabolized by the liver, the drug’s label warns.

In addition, ranitidine may cause severe attacks in people with a history of acute porphyria and people with this disease shouldn’t take Zantac with ranitidine.

Cancer isn’t a side effect listed on Zantac’s drug label, but some studies have suggested that high levels of NDMA in Zantac may cause cancer.

One such analysis published in JAMA in March 2021 by Dr. Lior Z. Braunstein and colleagues suggests ranitidine may form toxic levels of NDMA in the body when exposed to conditions in the human stomach.

Researchers found ranitidine was capable of producing NDMA levels far above the FDA’s acceptable limits.

Lawsuits claim high levels of NDMA in Zantac can increase the risk of bladder, stomach and other cancers.

Tell your health care provider about all medications, herbal supplements and vitamins you take before taking Zantac. Avoid drinking alcohol with the drug because it may increase the risk of stomach damage.

Because ranitidine affects stomach acid, it may increase or decrease the effectiveness of drugs that rely on stomach acid to be effective.

See more: How Long Does A College Hockey Game Last ? How Long Are Hockey Games

There are no interactions listed for Zantac OTC, but the prescription drug label includes several.