Another blood pressure drug tests positive for cancer-causing compound

Brittany A. Roston - Jun 18, 2019, 2:24 pm CDT
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Another blood pressure drug tests positive for cancer-causing compound

Another high blood pressure drug is facing a recall over the discovery of unacceptably high levels of an impurity that may cause cancer in some patients, according to a new report. The warning about the impurity comes from the pharmacy Valisure, which informed the FDA last week about high levels of a substance called dimethylformamide, which is a common solvent used for chemical reactions.

The problem

Information about the impurity was recently spotted in a filing issued by the FDA. The online pharmacy Valisure, which is licensed across 37 states, advised the FDA that it had found high levels of dimethylformamide (DMF), a probable carcinogen, in the high blood pressure drug valsartan.

Under the current acceptable level, DMF can be found at levels up to 8,800,000 nanograms, but Valisure has asked the FDA to recall the medication and lower the acceptable limit to under 1,000 nanograms. Back in May, the FDA published a statement about valsartan, revealing that it was one of the drugs the agency was investigating for possible impurities.

The FDA hasn’t commented on the matter at this time.

Days after similar recall

The news comes only days after the FDA announced the voluntary expansion of a recall covering another high blood pressure medication called losartan potassium. According to the agency, more than 40 bulk lots of the medication shipped to Golden State Medical Supply was found to potentially contain unacceptably high levels of an impurity called NMBA.

Consuming drugs that contain high levels of this compound for a long period of time may cause cancer in some individuals. The FDA had warned consumers who owned the recalled drug to continue taking it despite the impurity, warning that the risk of uncontrolled high blood pressure was greater than the potential risk of the possible impurity.

The agency recommended that consumers contact their doctor or pharmacist to see about getting a replacement product.


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