Digestive Disease Week

Digestive Disease Week

May 05, 2020
1 min read

No increased risk for cancer seen with ranitidine vs famotidine

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Nahbeeha Mohyuddin headshot
Nabeeha Mohy-ud-din

There was no evidence of increased risk for various cancers among patients who used ranitidine compared with those who used famotidine; however, ranitidine users compared with the general population were more likely to have a cancer diagnosis and other risk factors for cancer, according to data from Digestive Disease Week.

“Although the results are reassuring, they need to be interpreted with caution, given this is a retrospective study and further studies would be needed to definitively answer the question,” Nabeeha Mohy-ud-din, MD, internal medicine resident, Allegheny Health Network, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania told Healio Gastroenterology and Liver Disease.

Mohy-ud-din and colleagues identified 65 million patients from 40 health systems nationwide with the Explorys database (IBM, New York). Investigators searched for patients who used the drug ingredient ranitidine for an index event and then evaluated subsequent cancer diagnoses from 1999 to 2019. They used two control populations that included patients who used famotidine, an alternate H2 blocker, and the general population who did not use either famotidine or ranitidine.

Investigators identified 1.62 million users of ranitidine, 3.37 million users of famotidine and 59.63 million individuals who did not use either ranitidine or famotidine. Compared with the general population, patients who used ranitidine and famotidine were older, smokers, obese, had liver cirrhosis, a history of alcohol use and a family history of cancer. The same was true for famotidine users vs. ranitidine users. Those who used ranitidine compared with famotidine were more likely to have a diagnosis of GERD.

Overall, the incidence of cancer with ranitidine was 26.4% vs. 31.1% with famotidine and 13% in the general population. Ranitidine vs. famotidine users had a lower incidence of specific cancers. Patients without risk factors such as smoking, obesity, alcohol use, family history, cirrhosis and GERD, had an identical risk for all cancers with ranitidine and famotidine (OR=1; 95% CI, 1.01-1.02).

“The next step is to perform a prospective study with comparisons of outcomes between patients on ranitidine and famotidine,” she said. – by Monica Jaramillo


Reference: Mohy-ud-din N, et al. Abstract Tu1360. Presented at: Digestive Disease Week; May 2-5, 2020; Chicago (meeting canceled).


Disclosure: Healio could not confirm Mohy-ud-din’s financial relationships at the time of publication.