If you take blood pressure medication, or any necessary medication, you need a backup plan in case yours is recalled. It’s not safe to just suddenly stop taking a drug used to control your high blood pressure, so talk to your doctor about the alternatives now. New medications keep getting added to the recall list. There were two just last week. The reason for the recall is contamination of active ingredients valsartan, irbesartan and losartan with N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) and N-Nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA), which may cause cancer in humans. Once the contamination issue is resolved, you will be able to go back to your regular medication. Until then, your doctor or pharmacist can provide and alternative drug.
The Recalled Drugs
The recalled drugs are used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. They are in a class of drugs called angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs). So far, certain medications containing valsartan or irbesartan have been recalled as well as one lot of drugs containing losartan. There are other ARBs, and your doctor may switch you to a different ARB drug until the contamination problem is resolved.
You should be aware that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still testing ARBs for contamination and more may be added to the recall list as the investigation continues. As recently as November 27, 2018, the FDA announced that Teva had initiated a recall of two more drugs, Amlodipine/Valsartan combination tablets and Amlodipine/Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide combination tablets, due to contamination.
Other Alternative Medications
To avoid more problems with the recall expanding, your doctor may switch you to a different class of drug called angiotensin converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. That may not be appropriate if you have already tried ACE inhibitors and did not tolerate them well, but there are other types of drugs that your doctor may recommend, such as calcium-channel blockers or diuretics.
In any event, do not stop taking your blood pressure medication without getting a new drug from your doctor or pharmacist, even if it the drug you are on now is on the recall list. You are far more likely to have a serious or fatal health event as a result of suddenly stopping your medication than you are to develop cancer as a result of taking potentially contaminated meds for a few more days.
If you believe that you have been harmed by a defective blood pressure medication, please talk to an experienced defective drug attorney right away to learn more about your rights.