MAY CAUSE CANCER: Some drugs containing valsartan recalled

MAY CAUSE CANCER: Some drugs containing valsartan recalled

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued a recall yesterday (July 10) of all batches of valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide 160/12.5mg film-coated tablets - used to treat high blood pressure and heart conditions - made by Accord Healthcare.

This recall is a precautionary measure taken by the ministry following a report issued by the European Medicines Agency indicating the detection of a contamination of the active ingredient with N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a chemical that might lead to cancer.

Simultaneously, the administration also suspended the use of Valsartan in producing medicines and is conducting research on the use and impact of Valsartan to ensure patients' safety and follow the procedures for changing drug registration dossiers as regulated. The report of withdrawal includes shipments, withdrawal quantity and other evidence of withdrawal at wholesalers, retailers and users who have purchased drugs according to the regulations of the Ministry of Health.

NDMA is a potential carcinogen that could cause cancer with long-term exposure. As a precaution, the review will also consider whether other valsartan medicines may be affected. "The pharmacist can then figure out alternative medications that are unaffected by the recall".

Five companies sell drugs containing valsartan in Canada, including Sanis, Sandoz and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.

Mina Tadrous, (pharmacy faculty, University of Toronto), explained that valsartan is a common drug used by people with high blood pressure.

Moreover, he added that if patients respond well to the drugs, they shouldn't switch to a different one and that patients should "check if your lot is even part of their [recall], and if it is, they'll just switch you to a lot that's outside of it".