It has been reported that there are a lot of cancer dangers that we’re not aware of, and these are luring in some pretty widely used medications. Check out the latest news about the matter below.
People often trust that medications for common issues such as cholesterol, heartburn, and preventing pregnancy are safe and effective. However, some of these drugs may contain ingredients or contaminants that can increase cancer risks.
This problem may worsen as the United States increasingly relies on overseas manufacturers with less strict regulations to meet the growing demand for generic drugs. Low-profit margins have discouraged domestic production, leading to dependence on foreign plants where quality control may be inadequate.
Women worldwide rely on hormonal contraceptives to prevent pregnancy. While these birth control pills are highly effective, research suggests they may slightly increase breast cancer risk, although this evidence is limited. Most of the data comes from observational studies, which only show association and not causation.
In 2017, a large study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) involving almost 2 million Danish women found a small increase in breast cancer risk among those taking hormonal contraceptives, especially with prolonged use.
Additionally, women who use birth control pills for extended periods may have a higher risk of cervical cancer.
According to the National Cancer Institute, those who use these contraceptives for at least five years tend to have higher cervical cancer rates compared to non-users.
The risk of cervical cancer seems to increase the longer oral contraceptives are used, with less than five years posing a 10% increased risk, five to nine years posing a 60% increased risk, and 10 or more years doubling the risk. However, researchers also found that after stopping the pills, the elevated cervical cancer risk seems to decline over time.
Many doctors prescribe statins to patients to lower their cholesterol levels, which can help decrease their chances of experiencing a heart attack or stroke. However, there is evidence to suggest that taking statins for an extended period of time may increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer.
A study conducted in 2011 examined data from over 88,000 cases and 362,000 matched controls and discovered that individuals who took statins for more than four years had a higher likelihood of developing colorectal, bladder, and lung cancers. No significant link was found between statin use and any other common cancer sites.
In 2020, the heartburn medication Zantac, also known as ranitidine, was recalled due to the presence of unsafe levels of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a carcinogen.
Upon detecting NDMA levels higher than the daily intake limits, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested that Zantac be removed from sale.
Similarly, in 2018, other commonly used blood pressure medications like valsartan products, losartan, and irbesartan were also recalled due to their NDMA content, as they are used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.
Proton pump inhibitors
Zantac has been replaced by Zantac 360, which uses a drug called famotidine. However, famotidine can cause adverse effects such as irregular heartbeat, anxiety, and breathing difficulties.
An alternative option is proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), but a 2023 review found that they can increase the risk of gastric cancer by reducing healthy gut bacteria and promoting harmful organisms. The authors suggested using PPIs at the lowest possible dose for a short period due to potential risks.