Numerous medications containing valsartan may cause cancer.
Multiple pharmaceutical companies are issuing a voluntary recall of valsartan and hydrochlorothiazide after an impurity was found in drugs that contained valsartan. The impurity (known as NDMA) is a "probable human carcinogen" per FDA classification. Valsartan is a component of several drugs used to treat heart failure and high blood pressure. However, not every valsartan drug is being recalled.
CNN's report notes that experts have 4 takeaways for patients:
- Not all drugs containing valsartan have NDMA
- Valsartan alternatives are available
- Valsartan is tied to liver damage and liver tumors, but only in animal studies
- Good medication should always be combined with a healthy lifestyle
Unlike other recent recalls of dangerous drugs, valsartan is off-patent and is part of multiple generic medications. Major Pharmaceuticals, Solco Healthcare, and Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries are the companies participating in the voluntary recall.
Change in Manufacturing Caused Impurity
The Food & Drug Administration believes that the impurity, which was "unexpected," likely came from changing the way the component is manufactured. Currently, the FDA Commissioner is focused on making sure people who rely on heart failure medication have an adequate supply of safe doses.
The FDA is already investigating the possible effects on patients who have taken the impure batch. Unfortunately, the impure batch wasn't just sent to the United States. Twenty-two countries have issued recalls after receiving 2,300 bad valsartan batches, including Germany, Norway, Finland, Austria, and other European nations. Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, the director of women's cardiovascular prevention at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, is telling her patients that stopping medication is the wrong course of action.
She does note that patients are asking about taking brand-name medications to avoid valsartan in generic counterparts. There are currently 8 drugs in the same class as valsartan medications that use other components: losartan, irbesartan, olmesartan, and others. Ask your healthcare provider about switching to a non-valsartan ARB medication for the time being.
What Happens If I'm Hurt & Can't Afford Medical Care?
If you have questions about what to do if you develop cancer or suffer heart problems from losing access to safe medication, speak with HHR about filing a lawsuit to pay for your medical treatment, lost wages, and more. Speak with our valsartan lawsuit attorneys today.