The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for protecting public health and ensures the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices; and ensures the safety of our nation's food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation (What We Do). As part of this mission, the FDA sometimes recalls medications to ensure public safety during an ongoing investigation.

In July of this year, the FDA recalled popular blood pressure medications which contain Valsartan because of a suspected impurity in the key ingredient. The key ingredient, Valsartan was found to have contained N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA), a cancer-causing carcinogen. The contaminated medicines were manufactured in both China and India, and more have been added to the recall since July. In September the FDA stopped imports from the manufacturers in China and a global recall was implemented.

Patients who have taken these medications should contact their doctor or pharmacist right away to avoid possible illness. Do not stop taking your medication. Stopping your blood pressure medication can have life-threatening results. If your medication has been recalled, contact your physician or pharmacist right away, and continue taking the prescribed medication until you receive a replacement. Although impurities were found in the recalled products, no illnesses have been reported.

Since it can be confusing which manufacturers are under restriction and which drugs are under recall, it's important for patients, physicians, and caregivers to pay close attention to the FDA's reports and recall lists.

Valsartan products UNDER RECALL 

Valsartan products NOT UNDER RECALL

Irbesartan products UNDER RECALL

Dangerous Carcinogen

The contaminate found in Valsartan is a dangerous carcinogen called N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA). It is listed by Health and Human Services as a hazard: toxic if swallowed, suspected of causing genetic defects, and may cause cancer. If you're affected by the current Valsartan recalls, there are still treatment options for you. You can use a Valsartan medication that is not currently under recall, or discuss switching medications with your doctor. Losartan is one angiotensin receptor blocker which has been around longer than Valsartan, and can be just as affective. In addition to important and life saving medications, talk with your doctor about adjusting your diet and exercise habits to improve your high blood pressure.

2019 is the best year to improve your health. Start with your doctor, first.

There are many alternatives to medications when it comes to treating cognitive disorders. Whether or not they work is to be determined. Neurofeedback is a fairly new method of treatment also known as "brain training" in which the brain is re-trained to focus. This method is being used to treat ADHD in children and adults, and depression in adults. The goal is that patients can maintain a healthy lifestyle at home, work, and school without depending on medications.

The Process

First, the patient's brain is mapped using an EEG machine, creating a base line of neural connections. Through a series of sessions, the patient wears the EEG head gear while completing tasks that require concentration. When a certain level of concentration is reached, the patient experiences a reward that might be a pleasant sound or a reward on the game. The game, is just how it sounds--a video game. It's easy for children to enjoy during many sessions, and it requires concentration to achieve rewards. Through this process, it's thought that the brain is "trained" to feel concentration and create a positive experience during moments of focus.

Pros and Cons of Alternative Treatments

The goal of neurofeedback to treat ADHD and other cognitive disorders without drugs. Medications that treat these conditions can be expensive, so it can save you money in the long-run to invest in alternative treatments like neurofeedback. This "brain training" is quite costly, however. Not only are the sessions themselves expensive, but there are extreme risks when attempting to stop taking important medications. Neurofeedback has shown results over time, but stopping an ADHD or antidepressant medication can have serious consequences.

Treatments that Work

Medication - ADHD, anxiety, and depression have traditionally been treated using medications that affect chemicals in the brain to lessen symptoms. The benefits of these medications likely outweigh the side effects and work over time.

Therapy - Occupational therapy and other behavioral therapies are used along with medications to treat ADHD, anxiety, and depression. Counseling can help patients deal with stress and other symptoms, including side effects of the medications.

Diet and Exercise - A healthy lifestyle that includes a regular exercise regimen and healthy nutrition plan can lessen symptoms of ADHD, anxiety, and depression. Many patients choose to restrict certain foods to lessen symptoms, including caffeine and dyes. Regular exercise can release endorphins that boost the mood, improve focus, and lessen sleep problems.

When you're considering treatment options for yourself or your family, make sure to involve your support system and your physician. Even alternative methods, no matter how promising, should be discussed with your doctor.

One of the most popular New Year's resolutions each year is about health and weight loss. This spring, make sure you're on track with your goals and resolutions, while also remembering your health every step of the way. There are many drugs on the market that can help you lose weight, but it's important that these are used as part of a whole-life plan. Your weight loss plan should include behavioral changes healthy nutrition, in addition to any necessary medications that your doctor prescribes.

Orlistat works in the gut to decrease the amount of fat absorbed by your body from the food you eat. It is used to treat overweight and obesity in adults and children 12 and up.

Phentermine-Topiramate is a combination medication which reduces appetite and urges associated with appetite and treats migraine headaches. It is safe only for adult use.

Lorcaserin is used to help adults feel fuller and satisfied from smaller amount of food. It works by affecting serotonin in the brain.

Liraglutide is used to treat type 2 diabetes and obesity in adults. It works to help patients feel fuller sooner when eating small amounts.

Naltrexone-Bupropion is a combination medication used to help with smoke cessation and alcohol dependence as well as to lessen depression. For weight loss, this medication may help patients feel less hungry and less dependent on food.


It's important that your doctor understands your medical history before prescribing you a medication or treating a condition or symptoms. When your doctor prescribes a medication, keep in mind the benefits of the medication likely outweigh the side effects, but side effects will be present. With a medication such as these, you may experience side effects including: constipation, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea, headache, dry mouth, and more. You should always read everything provided by your pharmacist and physician and follow directions exactly. Do not stop, start, or change the dosage of this or any other prescription medication without the direction of a doctor. Talk over your diet or exercise plan with your doctor to give yourself the best chance of weight loss.

Healthy Diet - Check out Choose My Plate and any resources your doctor's office provides. If you have a special diet either for religious reasons or personal reasons, make sure you're taking in enough essential vitamins and nutrients.

Exercise Plan - The NIH Body Weight Planner is a great place to start when you're on the weight loss journey. Determining your activity level, caloric intake, goals, and timeline are essential in weight loss. Your current weight and body type may determine what type of exercises you are able to do.

Counseling - Your doctor may recommend counseling or group therapy that might provide support and behavior changes that support weight loss. Weight loss is more effective and permanent when accompanied with a support system and new, healthy habits.



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