The Food and Drug Administration has again extended the recall of commonly prescribed blood pressure medicines for contamination with a cancer-related chemical.
The most recent recall, announced Wednesday, concerns 32 batches of Macleod's drug Losartan Pharmaceuticals. The pharmaceutical company announced that it would voluntarily recall the affected batches.
Losartan is a generic angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) used to treat hypertension and heart failure. Last year, many batches of generic ARB were withdrawn from the market due to chemical contaminants called nitrosamine, which were associated with an increased risk of certain cancers.
"The FDA continues to work on the market with manufacturers to quickly remove drugs from the market if they contain unacceptable levels of nitrosamines, said Jeremy Kahn, an FDA spokesman. "We continue our investigations to ensure adequate and safe care for patients with ARB drugs."
Kahn told NBC News that the agency has identified 43 ARB drugs that are free of nitrosamine contaminants. "The numbers are expected to increase as companies continue to produce and work on ARBs without nitrosamine contaminants." To replenish US supply. "
Patients taking ARB should consult their pharmacist and physician to determine if the medications they are taking are on the market, said Drs. Sadiya Khan, a cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago.
The FDA has compiled a list of recalled contaminated batches. Besides Losartan, two other ARBs were affected, valsartan and irbesartan. But Khan suggests that people also ask their doctors. "It can be confusing because there are many different formulations of these medicines and it is not clear if your medicine is on the list," she said.
If a patient is taking any of the recalled medications, they should not worry, because "there are many alternative blood pressure medicines that patients can be switched to," Khan said. "The important thing is that you do not stop taking your medication without talking to your doctor because untreated blood pressure is the danger."
According to Khan, high blood pressure and heart failure are not the only diseases treated with these drugs. Others are the "Marfan syndrome and the aortic syndrome, where discontinuing medication may be even more dangerous."
Patients taking recalled medications should not be worried about the risk of cancer, as the risk is ultimately low. Prashant Vaishnava, Cardiologist and Head of Quality and Inpatient Services at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York City.
While the chemical contaminant in question has been associated with an increased risk of gastric and renal cancer, "8,000 people would take the highest risk of taking the recalled batches over a four-year period People come to another cancer, "said Vaishnava.
Vaishnava said there are many alternatives to the recalled drugs in the same class of drugs. "Patients are usually told by their pharmacist or doctor if their medication is affected by the recall."
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