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.
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.