What To Know After Popular Blood Pressure Medication Valsartan Recalled

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- A popular blood pressure medication used by millions of patients has been recalled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over concerns the drug contains a chemical that poses a cancer risk.

Valsartan was recalled by the FDA on Friday (July 13), a move 22 other countries have made in the last few weeks.

Valsartan is off patent and is used as a component of other generic medicines, but not all medicines containing the ingredient are involved. The U.S. recall includes versions of valsartan that are manufactured 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.

There has been an impurity found in valsartan called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). NDMA is classified as a probable human carcinogen based on lab tests. The FDA believes this sudden presence of NDMA is because of the way the substance was manufactured.

Heath experts warn patients using valsartan to check their bottle to identify its manufacturer.

Mike Scribner, a pharmacist at Collier Drug Stores, advises those patients to contact their pharmacist for advice.

"First and foremost, they need to call their pharmacy and make sure that the product they have is on the recall list," Scribner said. "Not all the products are recalled, just certain manufacturers."

Don't stop using the medication if you are affected by the recall. Stopping medication usage could cause serious risk.

"Continue taking what you have," Scribner said. "We don't want [your] blood pressure to go through the roof. That's going to be more of a risk with stroke and problems with hypertension than waiting four or five days until we can find an alternative for that."