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Blood pressure medication recall over cancer risk expanded for more losartan drugs

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 1/24/2019 Ryan W. Miller
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As part of a growing number of blood pressure drug recalls, Torrent Pharmaceuticals has expanded its recall of losartan medication over concerns it contains a carcinogen.

Torrent said six additional lots of losartan potassium and hydrochlorothiazide tablets contain trace amounts of the probable human carcinogen N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA), according to a notice shared Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration.

The India-based pharmaceutical company has already recalled 10 lots of losartan potassium tablets in the past two months, and since July, more than a dozen other recalls have been issued for common blood pressure medications.

The recalls have been linked to two overseas factories that made the drugs' active ingredients, which the FDA has said it is investigating. The drugs have been found to contain either NDEA or N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).

Various versions of valsartan, losartan and irbesartan drugs have been part of the recalls. These medications are part of a large class called angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), which lower blood pressure by widening or relaxing blood vessels.

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However, not all ARBs contain NDMA or NDEA or are under recall, and alternative treatments or medications can be prescribed in consultation with physicians, the FDA says. 

The agency is telling patients to continue taking their medication "as the risk of harm to the patient's health may be higher if the treatment is stopped immediately without any alternative treatment," the FDA said.

Click here to find out if your medication is affected by the recent recalls, or visit the FDA website. The agency has updated lists for all three kinds of drugs affected by the recalls.

  • For valsartan-containing products currently recalled, click here.
  • For irbesartan-containing products currently recalled, click here.
  • For losartan-containing products currently recalled, click here.

Contributing: Ken Alltucker, USA TODAY. Follow USA TODAY's Ryan Miller on Twitter: @RyanW_Miller

Related video: What to Eat When You Have High Blood Pressure [via Cooking Light] 

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