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Las Vegas-area doctor explains recall of common blood pressure medication

Posted at 5:46 PM, Jul 16, 2018

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a recall for a popular blood pressure medication over cancer concerns.

The recall issued last week includes certain valsartan generic drugs made by Major Pharmaceuticals, Solco Healthcare, Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries LTD., according to the FDA.

The recall also includes valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide(HCTZ) produced by Solco Healthcare and Teva Pharmaceuticals.

"We find it really, really effective at lowering blood pressure," said radio show host and Touro University Nevada professor Dr. Daliah Wachs.

"It helps people with heart failure, post heart attacks and it's a really good medication, very common, with low side effects," explained Dr. Wachs.

The recall is due to the presence of the impurity, N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which was found in the recalled products, according to an FDA statement.

The impurity, NDMA, has been known to cause cancer in laboratory testing.

"It's a byproduct of the manufacturing process that has been linked to cancer in mice and rodents," said Dr. Wachs.

Dr. Wachs adds more test trials are needed to determine the true extent of any cancer threat in humans.

"Because there is this minuscule chance, the FDA is taking precautions and it's something I agree with," added Dr. Wachs.

Medical professionals, the FDA, and Dr. Wachs say patients should continue taking the medication until a health care provider can transition them to an alternative.

"A spike in blood pressure can be very deadly," said Dr. Wachs. 

"It can cause heart attacks, it can cause strokes," explained Dr. Wachs.

"Do not stop taking any medication, call your pharmacist if you can't get a hold of your medical provider to see if your generic is even included in the recall," added Dr. Wachs.


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