CVS Pulls Zantac and Similar Heartburn Medications From Stores Over Cancer Concerns

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

On September 28, CVS Pharmacy announced that it’s pulling some heartburn medications from its shelves until further notice, following an alert from the Food and Drug Administration that they may contain a cancer-causing ingredient.

CNN reports that the medication in question is ranitidine, and CVS will stop selling its store brand version and the more commonly known brand-name version Zantac. Though tests are still ongoing, the FDA has found that ranitidine contains N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which is a “probable human carcinogen,” according to a statement from CVS.

CVS’s voluntary suspension of sales is a “better safe than sorry” course of action—the FDA hasn’t issued a formal recall of Zantac/ranitidine or even suggested that users stop taking the medication. In its statement, CVS says that “the levels [of NDMA] that FDA is finding in ranitidine from preliminary tests barely exceed amounts found in common foods.” According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, NDMA is also found in tobacco, cured meats, beer, fish, cheese, and even the air we breathe [PDF].

Ranitidine is a type of H2 receptor blocker, which decreases heartburn and acid reflux symptoms by preventing stomach cells from releasing excess acid. It isn't the only H2 receptor blocker on the market, so this might be a good time to consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist about switching to a different one, like Pepcid (famotidine) or Tagamet (cimetidine).

The FDA said in a statement that it will continue investigating the potential risk of taking ranitidine and share its findings when available.

[h/t CNN]

Keep Your Cat Busy With a Board Game That Doubles as a Scratch Pad

Cheerble
Cheerble

No matter how much you love playing with your cat, waving a feather toy in front of its face can get monotonous after a while (for the both of you). To shake up playtime, the Cheerble three-in-one board game looks to provide your feline housemate with hours of hands-free entertainment.

Cheerble's board game, which is currently raising money on Kickstarter, is designed to keep even the most restless cats stimulated. The first component of the game is the electronic Cheerble ball, which rolls on its own when your cat touches it with their paw or nose—no remote control required. And on days when your cat is especially energetic, you can adjust the ball's settings to roll and bounce in a way that matches their stamina.

Cheerable cat toy on Kickstarter.
Cheerble

The Cheerble balls are meant to pair with the Cheerble game board, which consists of a box that has plenty of room for balls to roll around. The board is also covered on one side with a platform that has holes big enough for your cat to fit their paws through, so they can hunt the balls like a game of Whack-a-Mole. And if your cat ever loses interest in chasing the ball, the board also includes a built-in scratch pad and fluffy wand toy to slap around. A simplified version of the board game includes the scratch pad without the wand or hole maze, so you can tailor your purchase for your cat's interests.

Cheerble cat board game.
Cheerble

Since launching its campaign on Kickstarter on April 23, Cheerble has raised over $128,000, already blowing past its initial goal of $6416. You can back the Kickstarter today to claim a Cheerble product, with $32 getting you a ball and $58 getting you the board game. You can make your pledge here, with shipping estimated for July 2020.

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Romaine Lettuce Recalled After Another National E. Coli Outbreak

TomFoldes/iStock via Getty Images
TomFoldes/iStock via Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a food safety alert cautioning people against eating any romaine lettuce grown in Salinas, California, due to potential E. coli contamination. According to NBC Washington, 67 cases of E. coli have been reported so far, and 39 people have been hospitalized.

The recall applies to any product that contains Salinas-grown romaine lettuce, including whole heads or hearts of romaine, organic or baby romaine, salad wraps with romaine, and packages of pre-cut lettuce or salad mixes with romaine.

In a statement, the CDC explained that most romaine lettuce products name the harvest location on the label, which might be printed on a sticker or directly on the packaging. You should toss all romaine products grown in Salinas, as well as anything that doesn’t specify a harvest location at all. If you’re not sure if there’s romaine in your salad mix or wrap, don’t take the chance—throw it out. However, no cases have been linked to hydroponic or greenhouse-grown romaine, so anything labeled “indoor grown” is technically still safe to eat.

Though the CDC is also advising restaurants and retailers to exercise the same caution and get rid of any romaine that might be from Salinas, it’s best for consumers to look at the labels in stores themselves or double-check with restaurant employees just to make sure.

You should also thoroughly clean and disinfect any parts of your refrigerator where you’ve stored romaine lettuce, to prevent bacteria from hitching a ride on your delicious Thanksgiving leftovers.

And, even if you live several states away from California, there’s still a pretty good chance that Salinas-grown romaine is shipped to your region—the E. coli cases have been reported in 19 states across the country, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The Food and Drug Administration is still investigating the outbreak, but it has been confirmed that this particular strain of bacteria, E. coli O157:H7, is the same one responsible for recalls of leafy greens and romaine lettuce in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

[h/t NBC Washington]