The drugs being recalled are used to treat patients with high blood pressure to prevent heart attacks and stroke, and also for patients who have had heart failure or a recent heart attack.
An impurity, N-nitrosodimethylamine, was found in the valsartan used in these medications, supplied by a Chinese company, Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals. This substance is a potential carcinogen that could cause cancer over the long-term. Exposure to high levels of NDMA can also cause liver damage, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
The European Medicines Agency is also reviewing the medication and there are recalls of these medications across Europe.
Health Canada advises consumers to keep taking their valsartan-containing medicine, but to check with their pharmacist to see whether their medication is being recalled. If you are taking an affected medication, you should contact your health care practitioner as soon as possible to discuss your treatment options.
Here’s a list of the affected medications, provided by Health Canada. For a complete list including drug identification and lot numbers, visit their website:
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