Drug manufacturer Pfizer has voluntarily recalled a batch of its Accuretic blood pressure medication over concerns that it may pose an increased cancer risk. Along with the voluntary recall of their name-brand drug, Accuretic, Pfizer also recalled several generic versions of the drug over concerns that they may contain cancer-causing agents.
Several batches of the drug may contain abnormally high amounts of nitrosamine, a carcinogen known to increase cancer risk in patients taking it. Pfizer states that there have been no known medical events associated with the recalled medications. However, they have recalled the drug out of an abundance of caution.
What are the Potential Risks?
According to data, nitrosamine is found in many products, including culinary water, some foods, and other items in trace amounts. While the chemical is considered a carcinogen, small ingested amounts are considered safe. The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) requires that any company containing nitrosamine levels over the recommended 26.5 nanograms per day must recall their products to help avoid the potential development of cancer or other illnesses.
Pfizer stated their data indicates no known medical incidents have occurred due to the batches of the drug or its generic counterparts. However, they decided to pull the lots of that drug and ask all patients taking medicine to consult with their doctor about alternative options until they can resume using their standard medication.
Nitrosamine in Other Medications
This is not the first instance where a drug was recalled due to nitrosamine levels. The FDA states that levels of the chemical can be altered because of the chemical makeup of a drug, the manufacturing processes used, and even the packaging material it is stored in
It is not uncommon for other medications used to treat issues like heartburn, diabetes, or to help with the cessation of smoking to contain trace amounts of nitrosamine.
In several cases, these drugs have had to be pulled off the shelf due to higher than standard chemical levels. In most cases, it is done as a precaution to protect consumers, and there is no known immediate risk of harm or health problems as a result.
The Pfizer recall affects six lots of the medication that have been distributed. You can check online to identify if your medications are part of the recall, or you can also contact the manufacturer directly to identify the steps to take. Users who have been affected by the recall can receive a different medication from an unaffected lot and receive a full refund.