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Major Shifts in Acid Suppression Drug Utilization After the 2019 Ranitidine Recalls in Canada and United States.

Gunning R, Chu C, Nakhla N, Kim KC, Suda KJ, Tadrous M. Major Shifts in Acid Suppression Drug Utilization After the 2019 Ranitidine Recalls in Canada and United States. Digestive diseases and sciences. 2023 Aug 1; 68(8):3259-3267.

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BACKGROUND: Drug shortages are a complex global challenge, and few studies have analyzed quantitative data on their impacts. In September 2019, detection of a nitrosamine impurity in ranitidine led to recalls and shortages. AIMS: We investigated the extent of the ranitidine shortage and its impacts on acid suppression drug utilization in Canada and the United States (US). METHODS: We conducted an interrupted time series analysis of acid suppression drug purchases in Canada and the US from 2016 through 2021 using IQVIA's MIDAS database. We used autoregressive integrated moving average models to determine the impact of the shortage on purchasing rates for ranitidine, other histamine-2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs), and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). RESULTS: Prior to the recalls, 20,439,915 ranitidine units were purchased monthly in Canada and 189,038,496 in the US on average. After the recalls started in September 2019, purchasing rates decreased for ranitidine (Canada p = 0.0048, US p < 0.0001) and increased for non-ranitidine H2RAs (Canada p = 0.0192, US p = 0.0534). One month into the recalls, purchasing rates dropped by 99% (Canada) and 53% (US) for ranitidine and increased by 128.3% (Canada) and 37.3% (US) for non-ranitidine H2RAs. PPI purchasing rates did not change significantly in either country. CONCLUSIONS: The ranitidine shortage led to immediate and sustained shifts in H2RA utilization in both countries, potentially affecting hundreds of thousands of patients. Our results emphasize the need for future studies of the clinical and financial implications of the shortage, and the importance of ongoing work to mitigate and prevent drug shortages.

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