Widely taken blood pressure drug valsartan recalled

The Health Products Regulatory Authority said that patients taking some Valsartan medicines should consult their doctor or pharmacist to discuss their treatment

A number of high blood pressure and heart drugs containing an ingredient made in China are being recalled across Europe after an impurity that may cause cancer was found in them, officials said on Thursday.

"This active substance is used in a number of medicines marketed in Europe", the regulator said.

Valsartan is an important prescription medicine used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. It is also sometimes prescribed after a heart attack.

Dr Sam Atkinson, MHRA director of the inspection, enforcement and standards division, said: "We will communicate the outcome of our investigations and ensure that the medicines [taken by patients] are safe". The MHRA warned the impurity, N-nitrosodimethylamine, could have "carcinogenic potential".

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The HPRA says not all valsartan medicines are affected and is reassuring patients that other treatments are available. The EMA and national agencies were working with Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals on measures to reduce or remove altogether the impurity in future batches of valsartan produced at at company's facility, the Bulgarian medicines agency said.

The agency is reviewing products containing valsartan supplied by Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals, a company in Linhai, China. The medicines are being recalled as a precaution after information emerged that an impurity.

"Unless another warning is issued, the Medicines Authority and the SPH are adhering to directions given by the EMA and Health Products Regulatory Authority that patients shouldn't stop using this medication haphazardly".

"If you are concerned, please speak to your GP, pharmacist or other healthcare professional".

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