Hypertension drugs recalled due to cancer risks

By Madeline Holcombe, CNN

Pfizer has issued a recall for a high blood pressure drug distributed under three names, according to the company.

Accuretic and its two generic versions distributed by Greenstone — quinapril and hydrochlorothiazide tablets and quinapril HCl/hydrochlorothiazide tablets — are being recalled.

Medications treat high blood pressure, which increases the risk of potentially dangerous cardiovascular events like strokes.

The recall is voluntary and stems from tablets containing higher levels of nitrosamines, which pose a cancer risk, although Pfizer said in a press release “there is no immediate risk to patients taking this medication”.

“Nitrosamines are common in water and foods, including salted and grilled meats, dairy products and vegetables. Everyone is exposed to some level of nitrosamines. These impurities can increase the risk of cancer if people are exposed to it above acceptable levels over long periods of time,” Pfizer said in the press release.

Nitrosamines can be introduced unintentionally when certain chemical reactions are used in the production of drugs.

The company said it was not aware of any reports of adverse effects resulting from the use of the drug and added that the products have an established safety profile spanning more than 20 years, according to the statement.

Distributors and wholesalers should stop use and distribution and “quarantine the product immediately,” the statement said.

Pfizer has recommended that patients taking the drug consult with their doctor about alternative treatment options.

High blood pressure is a growing problem: the number of people over 30 with the disease has doubled in the past 30 years, according to a 2021 study.

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Clarification: An earlier version of this story did not specify that the recall is for a drug distributed under three names.