Drugs that contain valsartan are used in treating high blood pressure and help to prevent heart attacks and stroke.
Health Canada said Chinese company Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals supplied the valsartan to several companies that used it to make drugs. The offending impurity is N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which has been listed as a probable carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Health Canada also advises anyone taking any medication containing valsartan to speak to their pharmacist to find out if their medicine is being recalled. The report of withdrawal includes shipments, withdrawal quantity and other evidence of withdrawal at wholesalers, retailers and users who have purchased drugs according to the regulations of the Ministry of Health. The presence of NDMA was unexpected and is thought to be related to changes in the way the active substance was manufactured, the EMA said. For example, Swiss company Novartis informed the ministry that their products containing valsartan are not impacted because these products do not contain the ingredient from external suppliers.
Valsartan is an angiotensin-II-receptor antagonist used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), recent heart attack and heart failure.
You should not stop taking your valsartan medicine unless you have been told to do so by your doctor or pharmacist.
"We will communicate the outcome of our investigations and ensure that any other affected products are recalled".
She continues, explaining that patients should go to the pharmacy and see "if the drugs they're taking are indeed the affected, recalled valsartan products".