Unless you tune into the news on a daily basis, you may not be aware of all the drug recalls that have been happening lately. First on the list includes blood pressure and heart medication.
Blood pressure and heart medication recalls
Since the summer of 2018, drug companies have been recalling hundreds of lots of blood pressure and heart medication drugs due to carcinogenic impurities. That list is currently growing. The contaminant has been identified as either N-Nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA) or N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which are two substances suspected to cause cancer in humans.
Although the contaminants are on the list of possible carcinogens, some cardiologists are saying people won’t get cancer from taking the contaminated medication. However, the possibility is still cause for concern. At any rate, it’s better to err on the side of caution and talk to your doctor to find a new medication.
The drugs recalled include multiple generic angiotensin II receptor blockers. Some of the recalled drugs include:
- Combination tablets that contain Valsartan and Amlodipine, and tablets that contain Valsartan, Amlodipine, and Hydrochlorothiazide.
The recalled drugs have expiration dates between October 2019 and July 2020.
Medical professionals advise that if you’re taking any of these recalled medications, don’t stop taking your medication. Talk to your doctor to find out if you can switch to a different medication safely. Stopping any medication cold turkey is a bad idea. Stopping blood pressure and heart medication can cause heart failure or rebound hypertension.
Why so many recalls?
The process of approving and manufacturing prescription drugs isn’t as tightly regulated as it should be. Although the FDA is responsible for ensuring drugs are safe before they hit the market, hundreds of drugs fall through the cracks. Testing and trials are performed by the drug manufacturer, which often results in biased test results. Manufacturers have been caught falsifying results to have their drug put on the market.
Not all drugs are recalled for contamination like the ones listed above. Many prescription drugs are simply dangerous and deadly.
In many cases, nobody knows a drug is harmful until people experience side effects, and the FDA is slow to act. The first thing they do is issue a disclosure of complications until they’re forced to take the drug off the market, which eventually results in a recall. This also results in thousands of lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies, many of which are class action suits.
Prescription drug lawsuits are common, and injured parties commonly recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, emotional suffering, and distress.
If you’re taking any prescription medication, visit the FDAs website for a full list of current drug recalls.
Medical device recalls
It sounds strange, but should be no surprise that an insulin pump has been recalled due to cybersecurity concerns. On June 27, 2019, certain Medtronic MiniMed insulin pumps were been recalled and the FDA says they can be wirelessly hacked.
On June 3, 2019, Hamilton Medical recalled their G5 ventilators due to a software issue that caused the ventilators to go into an ambient state.
On May 28, 2019, Heritage Pharmaceuticals recalled injectable drugs Amikacin Sulfate and Prochlorperazine Edisylate due to microbial growth.
Other recent drug-related recalls include:
- Robaxin (the 100-count bottle printed incorrect dosage instructions)
- Transdermal fentanyl patches (faulty labeling)
- Chemotherapy drug levoleucovorin (copper salts detected)
- Ibuprofen manufactured by Tris Pharma (inaccurate concentrations)
- And many more
Should we be afraid of medications?
With so many people taking medication regularly, it’s hard to imagine how they would survive without it. Many people depend on medication for their survival. However, the frequency of recalls is cause for concern. However, it’s important not to let your concerns override your sense of reason.
Advances in medical technology have been unbeatable in the last hundred years, but that doesn’t mean medicine is perfect. There will always be risks involved with medication and medical procedures.
Use only what you need
If you’re concerned about the dangers related to medical procedures and medication, the best way to mitigate the potential for harm is to only use what you need. For example, if your doctor prescribes you a drug for something that isn’t life-threatening (like allergies), and you discover the product has some side effects you aren’t willing to endure, skip it.
The same holds true for painkillers. If you’re worried about taking contaminated pills, don’t pop pain killers like candy for every ache and pain. Taking pain killers sparingly isn’t just about avoiding addiction. Even aspirin and ibuprofen have been contaminated in the past.
Remember that if you find out your medication has been recalled, don’t stop taking it until you talk to your doctor and come up with a plan to either come off of it or replace it.
Stay up-to-date with recalls and adverse side effects
Although doctors are required to stay on top of recalls, they don’t always have time. As a result, they might unknowingly prescribe a drug that has been recalled. Unfortunately, some doctors knowingly prescribe recalled drugs. In either case, if you’re harmed, you can file a lawsuit for medical malpractice.
Anytime you start a new medication, check the FDA’s list of recalled drugs to find out if your new drug is on that list. Keep checking in periodically for as long as you take that drug. Recalls won’t stop anytime soon.