High blood pressure or cancer: Are those really your choices?

High blood pressure or cancer: Are those really your choices?

If you are like other San Antonio residents, it probably feels like the Food and Drug Administration is announcing a new drug recall every other day. While there actually aren't that many, several have occurred in recent months.

One of the most concerning is the sheer volume of high blood pressure medications taken off the market due to a carcinogenic ingredient. Many people are attempting to put the minds of those who take these medications at ease by saying that the risk of cancer shouldn't cause a panic "just yet."

Easy for them to say

Doctors say that the problem with these medications has little to do with the active ingredient that actually controls high blood pressure. However, some patients may take a medication for heart failure that could cause problems when coupled with the medications involved, called angiotensin receptor blockers. People allergic to ARBs could also have an issue with medications containing:

  • Losartan
  • Valsartan
  • Olmesartan

Regardless, individuals whose medications are on the recall lists may not be taking the situation quite as lightly as others may. The solution seems simple - switch to a medication not on any recall list. The problem is that it's very possible that a shortage of alternatives could put people at risk until manufacturers can produce and distribute new medications. The FDA recently reported its efforts to "fast-track" new generic drugs in order to meet the demand.

Even if the cancer risk remains low, it remains a possibility for those who continue using the defective medications. The recalls created a new potential problem since many people switched to different medications due to this issue. They require close monitoring in order to make sure they do not experience any adverse effects from a new medication. Doctors often choose a patient's medication based on a variety of factors, and the potential for harm is one of them.

What you can do

If you remain unsure regarding whether your medication is on one of many recall lists, you could call your doctor or pharmacist. If your medication is on a recall list, the next step is to talk to your doctor since many, including the FDA, are saying that it is okay to continuing taking these drugs until replacements hit the market. However, other factors could affect whether this would work for you.

As for any legal options for adverse health consequences surrounding these or any other recalled medications, scheduling a consultation with an experienced attorney would probably be the best first step.


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