Common heart drugs recalled amid fears they may contain chemical linked to cancer

Pharmacies across the country are advised to recall batches of medication containing valsartan.

There are concerns the drugs may contain impurities linked to cancer.

The brand names Mylan and Teva are affected, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said.

Patients are being advised not to stop taking their medication as it could put their life at risk, but to see a GP if you think you're affected.

There is no evidence the medication has caused harm to patients, the MHRA said.

Dr Sam Atkinson MHRA’s Director of the Inspection, Enforcement and Standards Division said: "Our highest priority is making sure the medicines you take are safe.

"We are undertaking a pharmacy level recall of all affected batches of valsartan containing medicines made by Mylan and Teva.

"This is a precautionary measure to prevent any further exposure to the impurity in the affected medicines whilst the investigation continues and further updates will be provided.

"Because of the risk associated with suddenly stopping high blood pressure medication, people are advised not to stop any treatments without consulting their doctor or pharmacist.

"Please speak to your GP, pharmacist or any other healthcare professional if you take the affected medicines and they will be able to advise and answer any questions."

It follows an earlier recall of heart medications Dexcel and Actavis in July, which contained the same chemical.

The recall occurred across Europe and came after an urgent investigation was launched in to medicines containing valsartan, produced at a facility in China.

Drugs are being recalled across Europe, as experts fear impurities (N-nitrosodimethylamine and N-nitrosodiethylamine), which could be carcinogenic, is a result of a change in the manufacturing process.

The European Medicines Agency and other EU regulators are working together to investigate how widespread the problem is, and the possible impact for patients.

The MHRA said alternative valsartan products, not affected by the recall, are available in the UK.

Valsartan lowers a person's blood pressure and makes it easier for the heart to pump blood around the body.


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