Health Care

Ministry recalls some medicines containing valsartan over cancer fears

Ministry recalls some medicines containing valsartan over cancer fears”

An unexpected impurity has been found in the active ingredient used to make some valsartan medicines. The valsartan used in those products had an impurity known as N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).

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. The report of withdrawal includes shipments, withdrawal quantity and other evidence of withdrawal at wholesalers, retailers and users who have purchased drugs according to the regulations of the Ministry of Health.

NDMA can cause cancer after long-term exposure to it. Manufacturers issued the recall of the drugs. The presence of NDMA was unexpected and is thought to be related to changes in the way the active substance was manufactured, the EMA said.

Other medicines containing valsartan are not affected.

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

As a precautionary measure, the valsartan-containing medications are recalled on a pharmacy level.

Health Canada indicated it is monitoring the companies' recalls and suggests people taking medicine with valsartan should keep doing so unless their doctor or pharmacist tells them to stop.

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