Dangerous carcinogens discovered in heart medication Valsartan

September 27th, 2018

In July of 2018, concerns about cancer prompted the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to issue a voluntary recall for the blood pressure and heart medication Valsartan. Doctors prescribe Valsartan for patients to treat their high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.  Pharmacies are sending letters to patients who have been taking Valsartan, advising them that the drug may contain the cancer causing chemicals Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) and Nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA). A Chinese company, Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical Company, manufactures Valsartan which is distributed by three companies in the United States: Major Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, and Solco Healthcare.

The FDA has recalled the following Valsartan defective products:

  • Major Pharmaceutical’s Valsartan 80 and 160 mg;
  • Solco Healthcare’s Valsartan 40, 80, 160 and 320 mg; Valsartan /HCTZ 80 mg/12.5 mg, 160 mg/12.5 mg, 160 mg/25 mg, 320 mg/12.5 mg, and 320 mg/25; and
  • Teva Pharmaceutical’s Valsartan 40 mg, 80 mg, 160 mg, and 320 mg; Valsartan/HCTZ 80 mg/12.5 mg, 160 mg/12.5 mg, 160 mg/25 mg, 320 mg/12.5 mg, and 320 mg/25 mg.

Although not currently produced or used in its pure form commercially in the United States, the organic chemical NDMA was formerly used in the production of rocket fuel, antioxidants, and as an additive for lubricants and softeners.  The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) classifies NDMA as a probable human carcinogen which may cause cancerous tumors in the liver, kidney and respiratory tract, or increase the risk for developing gastric, colorectal, or lung cancer. Individuals who took the contaminated Valsartan drugs may have been exposed to NDMA for up to four years before being notified.

Although patients taking the recalled Valsartan medications may be at risk for developing cancer, doctors urge these individuals not to immediately stop taking the medication because this drug is prescribed to control a person’s high blood pressure or congestive heart failure. Instead, patients should continue taking the medication until their doctor recommends a new drug or some other alternative treatment option. Some individuals may be tempted to continue taking the recalled medication because they have a large supply of the prescription and the expiration date extends into 2019. Pharmacists, however, are strongly urging anyone who has any remaining supply of a recalled Valsartan product to return it to the pharmacy in exchange for a new medication not contaminated by NDMA or NDEA.

Our experienced product liability lawyers are ready to take action for individuals who have been harmed by this defective drug. If you or a loved one has taken Valsartan and developed any of the cancerous conditions discussed in this blog, please call 1-800-YOST-LAW. Our team of experienced attorneys will provide you with a free initial consultation and will help you get the justice that you deserve.

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