UPDATE: FDA expands recall of blood pressure drug due to cancer concern

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UPDATE: The US Food and Drug Administration expanded the list of drugs being recalled that contain valsartan. The drug is used as a component in a set of drugs used to treat heart failure and blood pressure.

The FDA initially announced a valsartan recall in July after lab tests discovered that some drugs could have been tainted with a substance linked to higher risk of cancer. The drug had previously been recalled in 22 other countries. The expanded recall includes some drugs that contain valsartan and hydrochlorothisazide. Not all of the drugs containing valsartan were impacted.

N-nitrosodimethylamine or NDMA, the impurity the lab tests found, is considered a possible carcinogen by the US Environmental Protection Agency. It is an organic chemical that has been used to make liquid rocket fuel, and can be unintentionally introduced through certain chemical reactions. It’s a byproduct from the manufacturing of some pesticides and fish processing.

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ORIGINAL:

A common drug used to control blood pressure and help prevent heart failure was recalled by the US Food and Drug Administration on Friday, a week after 22 other countries recalled it because the drug contains a chemical that poses a potential cancer risk.

Valsartan is off patent and is used as a component of other generic medicines, but not all medicines containing the ingredient are involved, according to the FDA. The US recall includes the the versions of valsartan that are made by Major Pharmaceuticals, Solco Healthcare and Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. as well as valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) sold by Solco Healthcare and Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.

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