Batches of blood pressure pills were recalled today after a cancer-causing chemical was found in them. After the discovery, pharmacies stocking the implicated medications - several different kinds of irbesartan and losartan - were ordered to withdraw them.
The UK medicine regulator has issued a recall for 31 batches of Irbesartan-containing products and two batches of Losartan products.
Batches of affected blood pressure pills included azido-tetrazole
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said that the recall is a preventive step and that no evidence of patient harm has been found. The recall affects pharmacists and distributors and not patients.
An investigation into the previous recalls of similar items in 2018 and 2019 is still ongoing. On this matter, the MHRA is collaborating with other pharmaceutical authorities. Here are the affected batch numbers of blood pressure pills the health chiefs recalled, as per The Sun.
The MHRA, which oversees the safety of medicines in the United Kingdom, stated the batches in question included azido-tetrazole. Officials from the government have cautioned that the compound may raise the risk of cancer.
Dr. Ljiljana Fruk of Cambridge University identified azido-tetrazole as the world's "most explosive chemical" in 2019. "So the most explosive chemical was produced in the lab in 2011," she stated on the Naked Scientists radio show.
On the other hand, the MHRA claimed that the action was purely precautionary and that there was no evidence that it had caused any harm to patients. It warned people not to stop taking the medicines without first contacting their physician since doing so may be dangerous.
Per Daily Mail, it was also found that some of the contaminated blood pressure pills had been on the market for nearly two years. The recall is the latest in a long series of sartan-type medicine recalls after cancer-causing compounds were found in items produced in factories in China and India.
Officials have not yet determined the cause of the contamination
Every year, millions of Britons with high blood pressure are administered irbesartan and losartan. The recall is limited as it only concerns pharmacies and distributors who carry the 31 batches provided by Brown & Burk UK Limited, Bristol Laboratories Limited, and Teva UK Limited.
These batches were initially delivered in September 2019, according to the MHRA.
Officials have yet to explain what caused the current contamination. However, they are frequently brought on by contamination in factories or during the manufacturing or storage process.
Chemical changes can be triggered by exposure to light, extreme temperatures, or even interactions with the drug's container. Industry analysts believe that China and India produce more than two-thirds of all drug product components, with China accounting for the lion's share. According to NHS data, over 2 million prescriptions for irbesartan-containing drugs were issued in England in 2017.
Dr. June Raine, the MHRA's Chief Executive, commented on the decision, saying that their goal is patient safety. As a precaution, they recalled batches of some sartan-containing medications while they are conducting an investigation.
It's worth noting that losartan and irbesartan-containing blood pressure pills are still accessible. If you're taking or stocking the affected blood pressure pills, Dr. Raine said, "It's important that healthcare professionals inspect their stock to quarantine and return these batches," Daily Express reported.