Drug manufacturer Pfizer has moved to recall several lots of blood pressure pills over concerns that the medication may have been tainted with a carcinogenic contaminant. The affected medications include Accuretic, which is a tablet distributed by Pfizer itself, as well as a line of medications distributed by a second manufacturer known as Greenstone. The Greenstone lots include a pill that combines quinapril hydrochloride and hydrochlorothiazide as well as one that combines quinapril with hydrochlorothiazide.
The contaminant is a compound known as N-nitro-quinapril which is a member of a group of impurities known as nitrosamines. Nitrosamines are fairly common in things we ingest every day like water, dairy, meats, and vegetables. However, they can become carcinogenic at elevated levels.
The pills affected by the recall were manufactured between November 2019 and March 2022 and, according to reporting, have not yet been blamed on any specific injury. Instead, the products are being recalled in an effort to keep people below the federally recommended ADI, or acceptable daily intake.
If the recall of a blood pressure medication sounds familiar, it’s likely because the past few years have seen several recalls of the drugs over contamination concerns. 2020 saw the recalls of valsartan-based medications after it was discovered that they contained unsafe levels of NDMA, or nitrosodimethylamine. The same class of drugs were recalled in 2018 when valsartan-based medications manufactured by an Indian drug company for Teva Pharmaceuticals were pulled from shelves after it was discovered that they too were contaminated with NDEA, or N-nitrosodiethylamine. That recall followed the recall and subsequent import ban on valsartan-based medications coming from Chinese manufacturer Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals.
As with previous recalls, those affected by this current recall are advised against stopping their medications. Rather, patients should contact their medical providers to see if their drugs are affected and work with those providers to find suitable substitutes.