FDA Recalls a Popular Blood Pressure Medication Due to Potential Cancer Risk

If you’re taking a blood pressure medication, you’re going to want to stop what you’re doing and read this.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently issued an alert recalling several versions of Valsartan, a drug used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.

The reason for the recall is that there has been an impurity found in valsartan called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which has been classified as a probable human carcinogen and can possibly cause cancer in those taking it. The alert comes a week after 22 other countries recalled the same one.

It’s important to note that not all versions of Valsartan are being recalled. Below are just some of the companies recalling the drug, and the versions of Valsartan that they’re recalling:

  • Valsartan from Major Pharmaceuticals
  • Valsartan from Solco Healthcare
  • Valsartan from Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.
  • Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) from Solco Healthcare
  • Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) from Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.

“We have carefully assessed the valsartan-containing medications sold in the United States, and we’ve found that the valsartan sold by these specific companies does not meet our safety standards. This is why we’ve asked these companies to take immediate action to protect patients,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

The FDA recall alert is for health care professionals and patients alike to bring to both attention about the potential risk of taking Valsartan at the current present time.

Check the drug name and company name on the label of your prescription bottle to determine if your prescription is one of the brands being recalled. If you can’t find it, call your pharmacy or doctor to confirm.

However, note that if you’re taking one of the recalled drugs, don’t stop it cold turkey—speak with your doctor before doing so. The drug provides a very important function, so it’s necessary to continue to keep taking it until you’re presented with a replacement product. Speak with your doctor before coming off the drug.

“The FDA is committed to maintaining our gold standard for safety and efficacy. That includes our efforts to ensure the quality of drugs and the safe manner in which they’re manufactured,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “When we identify lapses in the quality of drugs and problems with their manufacturing that have the potential to create risks to patients, we’re committed to taking swift action to alert the public and help facilitate the removal of the products from the market. As we seek the removal of certain drug products today, our drug shortages team is also working hard to ensure patients’ therapeutic needs are met in the United States with an adequate supply of unaffected medications.”

The FDA still investigating the recall, but for more info in the mean time, check out this video below.

What do you think of this recall? Do you or anyone you know take Valsartan? Please share this so that you can help get the word across so others can check their prescriptions.