The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced a worldwide recall on one of the most popular blood pressure drugs in America. Valsartan, also known as Cozaar or Diovan in other areas, apparently contains nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a chemical known to cause cancer and be toxic to the liver. Nothing like correcting your high blood pressure only to shoot it sky high again once you learn you have cancer from the drug itself! Here’s what you need to know to stay safe.
• The problem chemical in question, Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), was never supposed to be present in the drug. But it gets worse – they aren’t even entirely sure how it got there or how long it has been present.
• The FDA calls the NDMA “unexpected” and has suggested that it may be related to “changes in the way the active substance was manufactured.” However, they don’t really explain anything beyond this, and it isn’t clear how such a major oversight happened or how many people took the tainted drug.
• “We have carefully assessed the valsartan-containing medications sold in the United States, and we’ve found that the valsartan sold by these specific companies does not meet our safety standards,” a representative explained. “…We’ve asked companies to take immediate action to protect patients.”
• The FDA is also asking patients who experience adverse reactions, including liver failure or cancers, to report their experiences.
• Not every brand of Valsartan is included; the vast majority remain safe to take. You can see the list of verified safe versions in this document. It’s still best to check with your medical provider to ensure you’re taking the best possible medication for your needs.
To help you determine whether or not your brand is included, we are including a list at the bottom of this article. If your medication is on the list, don’t stop talking it immediately – blood pressure medication withdrawal can be dangerous. Contact your doctor or local pharmacy for instructions.
•Valsartan – Prinston – Pharmaceutical Inc.
•Valsartan – AvKARE
•Valsartan – A-S Medication Solutions LLC
•Valsartan – Bryant Ranch Prepack, Inc.
•Valsartan – HJ Harkins Company
•Valsartan – Major Pharmaceuticals
•Valsartan – Solco Healthcare
•Valsartan – Northwind Pharmaceuticals
•Valsartan – Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.
•Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) – Proficient Rx LP
•Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) – Remedy Repack
•Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) – Solco Healthcare
•Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) – Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.