Take Charge

FDA Recalls Blood Pressure Meds Due To Cancer Concerns

July 18, 2018

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By Steve Blanchard 

The United States Food and Drug Administration has issued a voluntary recall of several medications that contain the active ingredient valsartan, which is used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. The recall is related to an impurity, called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).

Officials say NDMA is classified as a probable human carcinogen —a substance that could cause cancer. They said those findings are based on results from recent laboratory tests.

It’s concerning, of course. But it’s important to realize the concern is with an impurity caused by a manufacturing process, not the drug itself.

"It’s not the drug that causes cancer," said Moffitt cardiologist Dr. Michael Fradley."The drug itself is quite good and important."

To determine whether a specific product has been recalled, patients should look at the drug name and company name on the label of their prescription bottle. If the information is not on the bottle, patients should contact the pharmacy that dispensed the medicine.

Below are the specific medicines being recalled: 

Medicine

Company

Valsartan

Major Pharmaceuticals

Valsartan

Solco Healthcare

Valsartan

Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.

Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ)

Solco Healthcare

Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ)

Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.

"If you get your valsartan from a manufacturer other than those listed, then you are fine to continue taking it," Dr. Fradley said. "If your medication is from one of those companies listed, then you should contact your doctor for other treatment options."