An impurity was found in Pfizer’s heart and blood pressure medication Accupril that has led to a recall of several lots of the drug. The contaminant, known as a nitrosamine, can be carcinogenic at high levels and can increase a patient’s risk of developing cancer over time.
Patients are advised against stopping their medication at this time. Rather, those that are concerned that they may have pills from contaminated batches should contact their medical provider to determine whether their medication is indeed faulty and to arrange for a suitable substitute. Affected pills were distributed throughout the United States and Puerto Rico between December 2019 and April 2022.
According to Pfizer, no reports of illnesses from the medication have been reported to date.
This is not the first blood pressure drug recall initiated by Pfizer. The drug manufacturer announced a recall of Accuretic earlier this year after it was found that several lots of the medication were contaminated with a nitrosamine known as N-nitro-quinapril. The compound, as well as its family of fellow nitrosamines, is commonly encountered throughout our day-to-day lives and is present in everything from water and dairy to meats and vegetables. Over time, however, elevated levels of nitrosamines can become carcinogenic and lead to the development of several types of cancer.
An additional class of blood pressure medications based on the compound valsartan were recalled throughout the latter parts of the previous decade. 2018 saw the recall of several valsartan-based medications manufactured for Teva Pharmaceuticals after it was discovered that they were contaminated with NDEA, or N-nitrosodiethylamine. Then, in 2020, additional batches of other valsartan-based medications were recalled after they were found to be tainted with NDMA, or nitrosodimethylamine.