Drugs frequently used to fight hypertension are being recalled as they may have been contaminated by a potentially carcinogenic molecule.
The valsartan products of five companies are being shared by Health Canada Monday night. These could be contaminated with N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a substance that could cause cancer in case of long-term exposure.
The recall affects valsartan tablets sold under the trademarks Teva-Valsartan, Act-Valsartan, Sandoz Valsartan, Valsartan of Sanis, Valsartan of Pro Doc Limited and Valsartan of Sivem Pharmaceuticals.
The tablets have been sold in sizes of 25, 40, 80, 160 and 320 mg, according to the companies. The full list of recalled brands and lot numbers can be found on the Health Canada website at http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/hc-sc/2018/67202a-eng.php.
Valsartan is a molecule that blocks the action of angiotensin II, a chemical produced in the body that can cause contraction of blood vessels, thus increasing blood pressure to lead to hypertension. This medication is prescribed to lower blood pressure, but also to treat chronic heart failure and to lower the risk of death after a heart attack.
Contaminated valsartan was produced in China by Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals, Health Canada said.