Health Canada recalls heart drug due to contamination with possible carcinogen

Valsartan a common heart disease drug is being recalled across Europe because it contains a chemical that has the potential to cause cancer

Valsartan a common heart disease drug is being recalled across Europe because it contains a chemical that has the potential to cause cancer

Health Canada said Chinese company Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals supplied the valsartan to several companies that used it to make drugs.

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

The recall came after the detection of a chemical - n-nitrosodimethylamine - that could lead to cancer.

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The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued a recall yesterday (July 10) of all batches of valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide 160/12.5mg film-coated tablets - used to treat high blood pressure and heart conditions - made by Accord Healthcare.

NDMA is a potential carcinogen that could cause cancer with long-term exposure.

Explaining how the NDMA may have been introduced into the active substance, the EMA suggested it was likely to have been introduced due to changes in the way the ingredient was manufactured.

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"Patients should not stop taking their medicine if it contains valsartan unless they've been specifically instructed to do so by their prescriber or pharmacist", Nakhla said. They are also used by patients who have had heart failure or a recent heart attack.

EMA and United Kingdom regulators are working together to investigate the extent of the issues and any possible impact for patients.

"We will communicate the outcome of our investigations and ensure that any other affected products are recalled".

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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.

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