Health Canada recalls some drugs containing valsartan due to potential carcinogen

Advisory - Several drugs containing valsartan being recalled due to contamination with a potential carcinogen

Recall of Valsartan containing drugs

Health Canada says the medications were supplied by Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals of China and that the valsartan used in the affected products contains an impurity known as N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).

NDMA is classified as a probable human carcinogen (a substance that could cause cancer) based on results from laboratory tests.

While the review is underway, national authorities across the European Union are recalling medicines containing valsartan supplied by Zhejiang Huahai.

Drugs that contain valsartan are used in treating high blood pressure and help to prevent heart attacks and stroke.

Other medicines containing valsartan are not affected.

Valsartan is an angiotensin-II-receptor antagonist used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), recent heart attack and heart failure.

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"Patients should not stop taking their medicine if it contains valsartan unless they've been specifically instructed to do so by their prescriber or pharmacist", Nakhla said.

EMA is now evaluating potential impact on patients of the exposure to NDMA in valsartan medicines.

"We continue to undertake an urgent review of all these products that may pose a low risk to public health".

"It is vital that patients taking valsartan medication affected by this recall do not stop taking their medication abruptly and consult with their doctor or healthcare professional as soon as possible for alternative treatment", according to the Inspectorate of Health.

"An investigation into other potentially impacted products is now being undertaken and further updates will be provided as the investigation progresses", the MHRA said.

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