Many consumers are aware of the fact that several medications containing valsartan, losartan and irbesartan were taken off the market through several recalls. According to the Food and Drug Administration, this is rapidly creating a shortage of blood pressure medications that do and do not potentially contain the carcinogen responsible for the recalls across the country, including here in Ohio. As a result, the agency recently gave what many would say is questionable advice — take the tainted medications anyway.
After months of removing all potentially contaminated blood pressure medications from the market, the FDA is now telling people it is safe to take them until new supplies are available. The agency’s belief is that the risk of health problems, including stroke, is higher than the potential cancer risk. This assumes that people would only take these medications for a short period of time while pharmaceutical companies manufacture new supplies.
The FDA is relying on scientists who say the short-term exposure will not cause cancer. The problem is that may not necessarily be true. Sadly, there could be patients here in Ohio and elsewhere who may have to take this advice due to the severity of their conditions.
While some may understand the Food and Drug Administration’s desire to make sure that people who need blood pressure medication have access to it, others may question the logic behind this advisement. Unfortunately, whether people suffer adverse effects from even short-term exposure may not be known for some time. Any diagnosis of cancer in the future for patients following this advice could come under scrutiny.