Health Canada urges consulting doctor after blood pressure drug recall

Valsartan should continue to be taken unless alternative medicine available

The decision was taken after active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturer Zhejiang Hauhai notified the European Medicines Agency (EMA) it had detected an impurity in its production of valsartan.

Several heart and high blood pressure drugs that contain valsartan are being recalled because of a substance that can cause cancer. For example, Swiss company Novartis informed the ministry that their products containing valsartan are not impacted because these products do not contain the ingredient from external suppliers. Health Canada describes NDMA as "a potential human carcinogen, which means that it could cause cancer with long-term exposure".

Health Canada indicated it is monitoring the companies' recalls and suggests people taking medicine with valsartan should keep doing so unless their doctor or pharmacist tells them to stop.

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Valsartan is used to treat hypertension and can prevent cardiovascular complications associated with the condition.

Health Canada says that if you find out the drug you are taking contains the ingredient to continue taking it for now and to contact your health care practitioner as soon as possible to discuss your treatment options.

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