FDA expands recall of blood pressure drug valsartan due to cancer concern

The US Food and Drug Administration expanded the list of drugs being recalled that contain valsartan. The drug is used as a component in a set of drugs used to treat heart failure and blood pressure.

New to the list are some valsartan products manufactured by Hetero Labs Ltd. in India, which are labeled as Camber Pharmaceuticals Inc. Test results show that some of the products may be tainted.

The FDA announced a valsartan recall in July after lab tests revealed that some drugs could have been tainted with a substance linked to higher risk of cancer. The drug had been recalled in 22 other countries. The expanded recall includes some drugs that contain valsartan and hydrochlorothisazide. Not all of the drugs containing valsartan were affected.

N-nitrosodimethylamine or NDMA, the impurity the lab tests found, is considered a possible carcinogen by the US Environmental Protection Agency. It is an organic chemical that has been used to make liquid rocket fuel, and it can be unintentionally introduced through certain chemical reactions. It’s a byproduct of the manufacturing of some pesticides and fish processing.

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