Health & Wellness

Common Blood Pressure and Heart Drug Recalled

Health Canada and the US Food and Drug Administration have announced that a number of drugs containing the medication valsartan have been recalled


By Katrina Caruso


The manufacturers of several drugs containing valsartan issued a recall recently due to fears that the ingredient had been contaminated by a chemical known as N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which is classified as a possible carcinogen.

The valsartan involved in the recall comes from a single manufacturer—the Chinese company Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals—but is used in drugs from a number of companies.

If you’re taking a medication containing valsartan, Health Canada advises you not to stop unless told to do so by a doctor or pharmacist—it can be very dangerous to suddenly stop any prescribed medication. Keep taking your medication and consult your pharmacist, who can tell you if your medication is one of those affected by the recall and switch you to another valsartan drug. (In Canada in 2107, out of all 4.4 million prescriptions for valsartan drugs, the recalled drugs accounted for 2.5 million.) If you have been taking the recalled drugs, consult your doctor about treatment options.

Valsartan is used in the treatment of high blood pressure and to prevent heart attack and stroke.

It’s not yet certain how the contamination occurred, but according to the European Medicines Agency, which also announced a recall, it’s believed to have happened during the manufacturing process, which recently underwent changes. What is known is that the drug no longer meets safety standards.

You can check the Government of Canada’s webpage for more details regarding the recalled drugs.

Photo: iStock/ratmaner.