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Some argue 2019's blood pressure medication recall wasn't serious

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalled several Valsartan blood pressure medications from the market in 2019 due to their potential contamination with carcinogenic contaminates N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA) and N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). Many of these prescription drugs had been on the market for as long as four years when the federal agency discovered the potentially dangerous nitrosamine compound contamination. Medical analysts now looking back on the recall argue that it posed minimal risk to patients.

FDA records show that it's likely that these medications' recall affected as many as one million patients. Even still, researchers at Harvard University suggest that the adverse health risks that patients faced by taking the medication leading up to the discovery are relatively small.

The researchers highlighted how individuals have regular contact with these harmful chemicals in their everyday lives at home and on the job. They pointed out that these potentially carcinogenic compounds form part of the pesticide, leather and tire production process. NDEA and NDMA also release into the air alongside tobacco smoke and when consumers use many standard household cleaning products. These are also compounds found in consumable food products such as beer and bacon.

While doctors recognize that the potentially carcinogenic compound poses an adverse health risk with prolonged exposure, they emphasize that patients who stopped taking their blood pressure medication faced a higher health risk than those who continued to take them. They argued the patients who stopped taking the contaminated drug without replacing it with a viable alternative had a more substantial potential for a stroke or a heart attack.

Researchers also found that patients who had the financial ability to switch to brand name versions of the drug that didn't form part of the recall could continue to reap health benefits while not unnecessarily exposing themselves to the contaminant in question.

Prescription drugs often come with contraindications and side effects. Patients don't often think about the dangers that lurk in drug manufacturing facilities, though. Introducing a contaminant into the mix can put patients at an added risk of health problems or death. An attorney with pharmaceutical injury experience can advise you how you may hold the drug manufacturer who didn't uphold optimal quality control standards in their facility accountable for any health declines you experienced.

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