5 Popular Drugs That May Boost Your Cancer Risk

Updated on November 27, 2020

Across the country, millions of Americans take drugs every day, whether they are over-the-counter or prescribed by our doctor. Often, we simply take them without thinking, for things like lowering blood pressure, reducing heartburn, or dealing with depression. People frequently take these drugs with little to no understanding that some of these popular medications may have cancer risks. 

These are the top five popular drugs available that have been linked to cancer.

Aquazide (Hydrochlorothiazide)

Aquazide is one of several brand names for the drug hydrochlorothiazide. This medication is prescribed for those with high blood pressure and as a diuretic. One study found a connection to lip cancer in those who take this drug and smoke cigarettes. There is also a connection to renal cancer in those with high blood pressure. 

In August 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a label change that added a warning about the risk of basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer – two types of non-melanoma skin cancers. The FDA reported that although the risk is small, the product should have a warning about it.

Pamelor (Nortriptyline)

Pamelor, whose generic name is nortriptyline, is an antidepressant that is also prescribed for chronic pain. Links have been found between this drug and esophageal cancer as well as liver cancer. The incidence of liver and esophageal cancers was higher in those who also suffered from alcohol abuse. One study published by the National Institutes of Health found a link between breast cancer and nortriptyline. 

Paxil (Paroxetine)

Paxil, also known as paroxetine, is used to address major depression as well as anxiety disorders. There have been links discovered between paroxetine and breast cancer. Although the risk does not appear to be significant, Paxil is not recommended for women who have had breast cancer or who have a family history of breast cancer.

Prozac (Fluoxetine)

Prozac is a popular anti-depressant. In a study conducted by the Breast Cancer Research Department of Springer Nature, they found that breast cancer patients who took Prozac showed a 27 percent increase in mortality from their cancer. The study did not show an increased incidence of cancer caused by the drug. However, if you are going through breast cancer treatment while taking Prozac, your doctor should monitor you more closely.

Zantac (Ranitidine)

In September 2019, the manufacturers of Zantac announced that they were recalling Zantac and other heartburn medications that contained ranitidine. The FDA discovered traces of N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a carcinogen. It is unclear for how long the drugs have contained the carcinogen. Zantac is used to treat heartburn, ulcers, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. 

NDMA is classified as a B2 carcinogen, which means it has been shown to cause cancer in humans, especially gastric, bladder, and colorectal cancers. It is also very toxic to the liver, and even small amounts could cause liver damage. Lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers of Zantac. 

There is evidence that the manufacturer was well aware of the dangers of NDMA and that it was included in Zantac. However, they did not take steps to warn the public. This has led many people to reach out to a Zantac ranitidine cancer lawyer.

Taking Legal Action

If you have taken any of these drugs and been diagnosed with cancer, contact a qualified attorney to discover your options for pursuing compensation. An attorney experienced in representing clients against drug companies will be able to set up a comprehensive plan of action to fight for your rights and get you a fair settlement.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.