LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Novartis, the maker of Zantac, is stopping the distribution of the popular heartburn medication worldwide.

The FDA recently announced that is has found small amounts of a probable carcinogen in versions of Zantac and other forms of ranitidine. (Photo Illustration by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The halt comes after an FDA warning of low levels of N-nitrosodimethylamine or NDMA, a probable cancer-causing chemical found in Zantac and other heartburn medications.

The federal agency said NDMA is dangerous in large quantities, but the amount found in the heartburn drugs barely exceeds levels found in common foods.

RiteAid, Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy announced they would no longer be selling the popular antacid, forcing patients to look at alternative treatments.

For now, U.S. health officials said patients can continue to take Zantac and similar heartburn medications, but for prescription patients to consult their doctors if they want to switch to other treatments.

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