Drugs that contain valsartan are now on the list of drugs being recalled by the US Food and Drug Administration due to cancer risk. It is used as an ingredient in a set of drugs that is used in treating blood pressure and heart failure.
Particular valsartan products manufactured by Hetero Labs Ltd. in India, also labeled as Camber Pharmaceuticals Inc., are added to the list. According to the test results, some of these products are contaminated.
In July, the FDA announced that they will be recalling valsartan after test results showed that some drugs may be tainted with an ingredient that can cause greater cancer risk. Valsartan had also been recalled in 22 other countries, following the incident. According to the FDA, while the recall includes drugs that contain valsartan and hydrochlorothisazide, not all were affected.
The impurity found on the lab tests are said to be N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). It is known by the US Environmental Protection Agency to be a possible carcinogen. It is an organic chemical that is used to create rocket fuel and can be inadvertently presented through particular chemical reactions. It is considered to be a byproduct of pesticides and fish processing.
The drugs on the expanded recall list are tablets sold by Camber Pharmaceuticals, Inc., AvKare, A-S Medication Solutions LLC, NuCare Pharmaceuticals Inc., Bryant Ranch Prepack Inc, H J Harkins Company, Northwind Pharmaceuticals, Prinston Pharmaceutical Inc. (labeled as Solco Healthcare LLC), Teva Pharmaceuticals (labeled as Major Pharmaceuticals), Teva Pharmaceuticals USA (labeled as Actavis) and Proficient Rx LP, Remedy Repack.
A list of acceptable valsartan products has also been published by the FDA. If you are taking a particular valsartan drug, find the company name that is on your prescription bottle. If it isn’t shown on the label, call your pharmacy and they’ll be able to give you the details.
The said recalled medicine is connected to a manufacturer in China and were supplied by Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals, a company based in Linhai, China. They said that they notified the authorities as soon as they found out about the contamination.
To better understand what taking a contaminated drug could mean, according to FDA scientists, if 8,000 people took 320 milligrams of valsartan, which is the highest dosage, from the recalled groups daily for 4 years, there could be one additional case of cancer.
On the FDA website, they stated that they are currently working with drug manufacturers to ensure that active ingredients in future valsartan products are 100% safe.
Should you be concerned whether the drug that you’re taking is on the recall list or a possible cancer risk, the FDA highly suggests talking to your physician and/or pharmacist before you stop taking your medicine. They might be able to change your medicine since not all valsartan drugs are part of the recall. And in the event that your medicine is on the recall list, according to the FDA, you should continue to take it until you’re provided with a replacement by your doctor or pharmacist. Stopping your medication abruptly can be dangerous.