FDA: Recall May Trigger Blood Pressure Medication Shortages

Widely prescribed drugs may be contaminated with cancer-causing chemical

Last Friday, the FDA said there is currently a national shortage of the widely prescribed medication valsartan, and that other drugs used to treat high blood pressure could also become in short supply due to the ongoing recalls.

Several generic valsartan products sold in the U.S. have been found to be contaminated with the chemical NDMA, which has been linked to cancer.

On January 18, Prinston Pharmaceuticals announced the initial recall of seven batches of irbesartan HCTZ tablets. Many identified batches were tainted with trace amounts of NDEA or NDMA, N-nitrosodimethylamine, which the FDA has classified as a “probable human carcinogen.” These environmental contaminants are also found in water and foods, including meats, dairy products and vegetables.

“Overall, the risk to individual patients remains very small, although this doesn’t diminish the significance of this episode or our concerns,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb and Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement released Friday.

SOURCE: NBC News

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