drug recall perplexed

This Product Has Been Recalled 75 Times

On May 6, 2019, Vivimed Life Sciences put out another recall for losartan.

The American Health Packaging recall of valsartan on March 7, 2019, the 75th recall of blood pressure medication since the initial contamination occurred.

The problem with the contamination of blood pressure medication has gotten so widespread that the FDA authorized a new generic of valsartan to help relieve shortages when lots after lots of the existing medication were recalled.

Also, the agency compiled a list of 40 blood pressure medications that seem free of contamination. You can find that list here.

Which blood pressure drugs have been recalled?

The common prescription drugs for blood pressure that have been recalled so far include valsartan, losartan, and irbesartan in different combinations and from different manufacturers.

Why have the drugs been recalled?

In each case, a recalled drug was contaminated with N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA) or N-Nitroso N-Methyl 4-amino butyric acid (NMBA).

Those chemicals are believed to cause cancer in humans. Research also suggests NDEA can cause liver and blood cell damage.

NDEA is a byproduct of industrial processes, and the FDA is working on identifying how it has been getting into the medication. It can also be created by other chemical reactions. It is found in very low levels in some food and in drinking water, and is used to make rocket fuel.

Can you get cancer from the contaminated drugs?

The FDA says the risk is very low. They estimate that if 8,000 people took the highest valsartan dose, which is 320 milligrams, from recalled batches every day for 4 years, there would likely only be one additional case of cancer over the life of those 8,000 people.

What should you do if you have a perscription for one of the recalled drugs?

Don’t stop taking the medication. The threat from the contamination in the drug is a lesser threat than the consequences of stopping the use of the medication.

However, do contact your pharmacist or Doctor as soon as possible.

They can help you find an alternative.

Because so much of the blood pressure drugs have been recalled, this may be a little more difficult than usual. Also, keep in mind that drugs that are not on the list of recalls are more in demand and therefore the price may have gotten higher.

WebMD has an article up that summarizes the rash of blood pressure medication recalls. You can read the full report here.

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