Recall of Valsartan containing drugs

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In connection with this, Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company Novartis informed the Ministry that their products containing Valsartan-Diovan, Co-Diovan Entresto and Exforge-are not impacted because these products do not contain the active ingredient from an external supplier, where the active ingredient was manufactured in a Novartis site in Ireland and Switzerland.

The review was triggered after the company detected an impurity, N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), in the valsartan active substance which the company supplies to manufacturers producing some of the valsartan medicines available in the EU. Health Canada describes NDMA as "a potential human carcinogen, which means that it could cause cancer with long-term exposure".

Valsartan, a drug widely used to control blood pressure is being recalled in several countries around the world because of its chemical ingredient possibly linking to cancer.

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Patients are also advised to speak with a pharmacist who can check if the specific drug someone is taking with the ingredient is being recalled.

"Patients should not stop taking their medicine if it contains valsartan unless they've been specifically instructed to do so by their prescriber or pharmacist", Nakhla said.

Other medicines containing valsartan are not affected. They are also used by patients who have had heart failure or a recent heart attack.

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In the United Kingdom, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is working with pharmacies to recall the affected medicines but have also stated the importance of patients continuing their treatment but to seek advice from a healthcare professional immediately.

"We will communicate the outcome of our investigations and ensure that any other affected products are recalled".

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