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Blood pressure drug recalled because it might give you cancer

Published Nov 2nd, 2018 3:47PM EDT
blood pressure drug recall
Image: carbonNYC

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If you’re taking a medication to help regulate your blood pressure, you’re obviously at least mildly interested in maintaining good health, so it’s one heck of a sad coincidence that a whole bunch of blood pressure pills are now being recalled because they might actually give you cancer instead. Yikes.

The medication in question is Irbesartan, which is sold in 75 mg, 150 mg, and 300 mg tablets produced by ScieGen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Samples of the medication have been found to contain the compound N-nitrosodiethylamine, which is thought to be a carcinogen, and that discovery has led to a voluntary recall of several lots of the drug with expiration dates ranging from September 19th to February 20th.

The drug, which is sold under the labels Westminster Pharmaceuticals and Golden State Medical Supply, can be returned to whichever company is on the label via their individual recall programs. Emails and phone numbers of the companies, as well as lot numbers and expiration dates for the affected drugs can be found on the FDA’s recall page.

The FDA is also offering advice on how patients should proceed:

Patients should contact their pharmacist or physician who can advise them about an alternative treatment prior to returning their medication. Patients who are on Irbesartan should continue taking their medication, as the risk of harm to a patient’s health may be higher if the treatment is stopped immediately without any alternative treatment. Patients should contact their physician or healthcare provider if they have experienced any problems that may be related to taking or using Irbesartan.

If all of this sounds a bit familiar, it’s because the same contamination was found earlier this year in a different batch of blood pressure medications. That recall, which affected a whopping 55 different medications that contained the active ingredient valsartan, also contained the same carcinogenic compound found in this new recall.

N-nitrosodiethylamine is a compound that is found in nature, but has also been traced to manufacturing processes, and is furthermore a component of air pollution, according to the FDA. It’s not something you want to be putting in your body voluntarily, however, so if you have any of the affected drugs in your medicine cabinet, it would be wise to follow the FDA’s instructions and participate in the recall effort.