FDA recalls blood pressure medication that could cause cancer

National News

SILVER SPRING, Md. (WCMH/KXAN) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced a recall of several drug products that are used to treat high blood pressure, due to a potential cancer risk.

According to the FDA, several drug products containing the active ingredient valsartan, which is used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure, are being voluntarily recalled due to the possible impurity of a potential carcinogen N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).

The FDA says that patients who are taking the recalled valsartan-containing medicines should continue taking their medicine until they have a replacement product.

To determine whether a specific product has been recalled, patients should look at the drug name and company name on the label of their prescription bottle. If the information is not on the bottle, patients should contact the pharmacy that dispensed the medicine.

Patients should also contact their health care professional (the pharmacist who dispensed the medication or doctor who prescribed the medication) if their medicine is included in this recall to discuss their treatment, which may include another valsartan product not affected by this recall or an alternative treatment option.

The following drugs have been recalled:



Major Pharmaceuticals


Solco Healthcare


Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.

Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) 

Solco Healthcare

Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) 

Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.

For more information go to FDA.gov. 

Austin pharmacist on the recall 

KXAN spoke with Aaron Williams, the pharmacist and owner of the Brodie Lane Pharmacy about this recall.

His staff already received the recall notice from the FDA and cleared the impacted medications off the shelves. Williams describes the medicines impacted as part of a “first line of defense” in treating high blood pressure, commonly prescribed among his patients. 

“With this particular recall, we know there [are] contaminants in the tablets, they haven’t determined what that risk is going to be yet,” Williams said. 

Like the FDA, Williams also emphasized that you shouldn’t just stop taking your medication if you learn one of your prescriptions has been impacted. 

“It’s important not to stop the medication until you know that you’re affected because the short-term risk of stopping a blood pressure medication can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke,” Williams noted. He added that heart attack and stroke risk could pose a greater danger than trace amounts of a potentially cancer-causing substance. 

Because this recall does not impact every medication that has Valsartan in it, Williams said it’s important to check the specific drug you’ve been taking to see if that variation is included. 

“The first phone call that needs to go out is to the pharmacy, they’re gonna have access to exactly what you received,” Williams said, adding that once you find out if you’ve taken the types of medication impacted, then you should call a physician to discuss what additional care you need. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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