FDA recalls blood pressure, heart failure medications after cancer-causing agents found

FDA recalls blood pressure, heart failure medications after cancer-causing agents found

The FDA is still reviewing the recalled products, but in the meantime, three companies based in the USA have agreed to stop selling specific medications that contain valsartan - an ingredient commonly used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. Officials say the recall comes after a trace amount an unexpected impurity, N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) was detected.

NDMA has been classified by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer as a probable carcinogen to humans.

The FDA believes this sudden presence of NDMA is because of the way the substance was manufactured.

The US recall includes the the versions of valsartan that are made by Major Pharmaceuticals, Solco Healthcare and Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.as well as valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) sold by Solco Healthcare and Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.

Because valsartan is a common medicine to help patients with high blood pressure and to reduce the chance of heart attack, the FDA suggests patients taking the recalled medicine to continue taking their medicine until a replacement is in place.

To determine if a specific product has been recalled, look at the drug name and company name on the prescription bottle's label.

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"The FDA is committed to maintaining our gold standard for safety and efficacy".

Patients should contact their healthcare professional (the pharmacist who dispensed the medication or the doctor who prescribed the medication) if their medicine is included in the recall to discuss treatment.

Updated 7/16/2018 at 5:30 p.m. PDT: This piece was updated to include information about Teva Pharmaceuticals USA's recall of valsartan medication.

As swift as the FDA's response appears to be, the whole issue has re-ignited an important conversation regarding how the USA can ensure the safety of imported drugs in the future - especially as imported drugs become more and more common.

The FDA is warning patients who take valsartan to make sure their medication was not manufactured by the offending company.

FDA's announcement was made a week after 22 other countries had conducted their respective recalls of valsartan. The agency encourages patients and health care professionals to report any adverse reaction to the FDA's MedWatch program. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation's food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

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