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Shortage Of Blood Pressure Drugs After Recall: FDA

The agency said that it determined that the impurities "may be generated when specific chemicals and reaction conditions are present in the manufacturing process"

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Blood Pressure, Drugs
A man has his blood pressure checked at a clinic in Wise, Virginia, July 22, 2017. VOA

Additional shortages of blood pressure drugs in the United States are possible following recent recalls related to traces of a probable carcinogen found in some versions a particular class of hypertension medicines, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday.

The drugs, including valsartan, belong to a class of widely-used medicines for treating high blood pressure called angiotensin II receptor blockers, or ARBs. Valsartan is the generic of Novartis’ Diovan.

The FDA also said it may have identified the root cause of the potentially cancer-causing impurities but that it is still investigating.

The recalls began last summer after the FDA was informed that ingredients used by Chinese manufacturer Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals Co (Huahai) to produce valsartan contained the impurities. The FDA later halted all imports from one of Huahai’s factories.

Drugs
Some generic versions of other ARBS, such as losartan and irbesartan, have also been recalled.

Other manufacturers have also had to recall valsartan after the impurities were found in their versions of the drug.

It is currently listed as in shortage by the FDA.

Generic drugs

Some generic versions of other ARBS, such as losartan and irbesartan, have also been recalled. The most recent recall was announced earlier this week.

Also Read: New Wearable Patch That Helps in Monitoring Blood Pressure

The agency said that it determined that the impurities “may be generated when specific chemicals and reaction conditions are present in the manufacturing process” and “may also result from the reuse of materials, such as solvents.”

The reuse of solvents is an accepted practice in the industry, but manufacturers are generally expected to ensure that reused materials meet certain safety standards. (VOA)

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Study Warns Patients That Now Drugs Contain Inactive Ingredient

Drugs can contain inactive compounds like gluten, lactose or specific dyes that can cause a reaction in certain patients

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drugs
FILE - Drugs can contain inactive compounds like gluten, lactose or specific dyes that can cause a reaction in certain patients. VOA

A new study is warning patients that if they feel worse after taking a new medication, it might not be because of the drug but rather an inactive ingredient in it.

The report published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine says medications often contain “inactive” ingredients that can cause allergic reactions or gastrointestinal reactions in people sensitive to specific compounds.

Drugs can contain inactive compounds like gluten, lactose or specific dyes that can cause a reaction in certain patients.

drugs
Drugs can contain inactive compounds like gluten, lactose or specific dyes that can cause a reaction in certain patients. Pixabay

“There’s a tremendous underappreciation of the potential impact that inactive ingredients may have,” said Dr. Giovanni Traverso, a gastroenterologist who spurred the research after his celiac patient’s trouble with medication that contained gluten as an inactive compound.

The study analyzed data on inactive ingredients from a database of more than 42,000 prescription and over-the-counter medicines. It found that an average pill contains eight inactive ingredients, but some contain 20 or even more.

ALSO READ: Longer Exposure to PM2.5 Raises Risk of Diabetes: Study

While most of the worrisome ingredients are in small amounts in most medications, the researchers pointed out that 39 percent of seniors take at least five prescription medicines daily, so even the tiniest amount can add up.

Drug manufacturers already put warnings on medications that contain refined peanut oil. And the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering a proposal that recommends adding gluten information to drug labels. (VOA)