Blood pressure drugs end up on ban list

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

Recall of Valsartan containing drugs

Health Canada announced that the drugs were coming from China, from Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals.

A Class 1 Medicines Recall is now underway with all valsartan containing medicines made by Actavis Group and Dexcel Pharma being recalled at a European level as a result of the potential contamination.

Drugs containing valsartan are used to treat high blood pressure and help prevent heart attacks and stroke.

In the United Kingdom, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is working with pharmacies to recall the affected medicines but have also stated the importance of patients continuing their treatment but to seek advice from a healthcare professional immediately.

Additionally, precautionary measures will be taken by the EMA, which will review other valsartan medicines to ensure they have not also been affected.

But the agency also said that anyone taking medication that contains valsartan should continue to take it unless told to stop by their doctor or pharmacist.

"Out of the 2,690 hypertension drugs that are licensed for sale domestically, 571 of them contain Valsartan", said Kim Yu-mi, head of the Drug Review and Management Division at the ministry, "and 219 out of these contain Chinese-made Valsartan, but if we conduct a review of available data and on-site investigations, we may discover that the problematic drugs are fewer than this number".

A substance in valsartan than is found in some heart and high blood pressure drugs has been linked to cancer. He had been taking a recently banned drug for over two years. Patients that have had a recent heart attack or heart failure also use these drugs. He said the government needs to devise a system to alert patients if unforeseen problems arise concerning their medicine.

"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.

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