Blood Pressure Medication Recall: Human Carcinogen Found

Blood Pressure Medication Recall: Human Carcinogen Found
Blood Pressure Medication Recall: Human Carcinogen Found

High blood pressure is no joke. Left untreated, it can lead to heart attacks, strokes and even death. But in the case of amlodipine, also known by the brand name Valsartan, the treatment just might be riskier than the disease.

We spoke to you about this more than twice last year… now we’re disturbed to report the drug has been recalled yet again. This time around, Aurobindo Pharma USA is recalling a total of 80 lots of Amlodipine Valsartan Tablets USP, Valsartan HCTZ Tablets, USP and Valsartan Tablets USP.

Why?

They might give you cancer.

Key Facts

  • Aurobindo’s voluntary recall (meaning they weren’t forced into it… how nice of them to comply after the fact) occurred because they detected trace amounts of “impurities” in the manufacturing process. Those impurities included a substance called N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA), which is a known carcinogen.
  • To determine whether the drug you’re taking is involved in the recall, carefully check your bottle. Look for the drug name; if it contains “Auro” at the start, it may be affected. Most drug manufacturers include a prefix to identify that they were the maker (like “Auro-Valsartan”).
  • If you are taking a drug, or if you aren’t sure whether your brand is involved, call the prescribing pharmacy and ask them to review. You can also check the lot numbers and expiry dates at this link and cross-match them to your prescription product.
  • Aurobindo claims they have yet to receive any complaints or reports of injury from the substance. But here’s the thing: carcinogens do not work overnight. They cause a slow and gradual change at the cellular level, meaning that it can be extremely difficult to identify if they are the actual cause of cancer.
  • It’s entirely possible (but admittedly unproven) that someone could take their medication for years before they develop cancer. And it would be even more difficult to prove the Valsartan caused the cancer, even if the patient had a proven history with the drug.
  • What makes this so concerning? For companies like Aurobindo, it essentially gives them a “get out of jail free” card. They make the right public moves by recalling, but if someone ever does get sick, they can just claim there’s no proof it was the Valsartan or any of their drugs.
  • 2018 was a year of many recalls for Valsartan and a long list of other drugs. Isn’t it time we demanded better from drug manufacturers? What good are medications if they harm us more than help us, anyway?

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