Global recall of heart drug due to potential carcinogen contamination

Desiree Burns
July 12, 2018

Several drugs used to treat high blood pressure and help prevent heart attacks and strokes have been recalled by Health Canada.

The decision was taken after active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturer Zhejiang Hauhai notified the European Medicines Agency (EMA) it had detected an impurity in its production of valsartan.

Health chiefs have recalled a number of medicines that contain the ingredient valsartan.

Swiss multinational pharmaceutical compaany Novartis informed the ministry that their products containing Valsartan - Diovan, Co-Diovan Entresto and Exforge - are not impacted because these products do not contain the active ingredient from an external supplier.

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Some of these drugs are also used in patients who have had heart failure or a recent heart attack. N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) is a chemical substance classified as potentially carcinogenic.

Health Canada also advises anyone taking any medication containing valsartan to speak to their pharmacist to find out if their medicine is being recalled.

Unless alternative medicine is available, patients taking the medicine should continue using it as serious health consequences could result if the medicine is stopped.

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