Valsartan is a common medication used for high blood pressure. Some brands of the generic form of the medication were found to be contaminated with NMDA, a chemical that is potentially carcinogenic. Actual cases of cancer have only been observed in lab animals given high doses of NMDA. Nevertheless, the FDA has recommended a recall for Valsartan pills made by Major, Solco, and TEVA, all suppliers of generic medications. Novartis, the maker of the name brand, is NOT affected by the recall. Likewise, other makers of generic Valsartan appear to be safe.
What to do: First of all, don’t stop taking your medication. The risk is still theoretical, and the consequences of untreated high blood pressure are real. If you can, check to see if your Valsartan is made by the manufacturers listed above. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about switching to name brand or one of several generic alternatives that are available.
Thought for the day: See if a change for your treatment is brewing. But don’t just stop what you’re currently doing.
What’s Going Around is contributed by family practice doctor Kyle Scarborough, M.D. You can reach him at www.familylifemedical.com