Blood Pressure Medications Recalled Over Cancer Concerns - Carlos GaminoBy Carlos Gamino

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recalled several blood pressure medications that contain the active ingredient valsartan.

“This recall is due to an impurity, N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which was found in the recalled products,” said the FDA in a mid-July statement. “However, not all products containing valsartan are being recalled.”

NDMA is classified as a “probable” human carcinogen. That means it could cause cancer, based on what officials have found in a multitude of studies. The carcinogen’s presence is, according to the FDA, “thought to be related to changes in the way the active substance was manufactured.”

How to Tell if Your Medication Has Been Recalled

Check your prescription bottle and look for the drug name and manufacturer’s name. If that information isn’t there, call the pharmacy that issued it.

These are the medications and companies affected by the recall:

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

Janet Woodcock, M.D., who is the director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, says, “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.

If you are taking one of these medications, contact your doctor or pharmacist immediately.

Other Recalls

The valsartan recall joins several others over the past few months. You can check recalls, market withdrawals and safety alerts on the FDA’s website here, but this is a short list of other medication recalls that are still in effect:

  • Daptomycin by Hospira
  • Naloxone hydrochloride by Hospira
  • Birth control capsules by Taytulla
  • Fluticasone Propionate nasal spray by Apotex

Were You Affected by This Recall?

If you were affected by this or another medication recall, I’d love to hear what happened – how did you find out, and what did you do? Share your story on my Facebook page or on Twitter.

Carlos Gamino