‘Call your doctor’: ‘Common’ medications recalled over cancer fears – FDA issues warning
Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert
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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalled the batches after it emerged they contained the environmental contaminant N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which is known to cause some form of cancers. Metformin is a generic drug widely used by diabetics around the world that works to lower insulin levels in the blood. It is also believed to influence metabolic and cellular processes associated with age-related conditions such as inflammation. Batches of the drug were voluntarily recalled in the US after the contaminant was detected during a series of tests.
NDMA is classified as a potential human carcinogen based on a series of laboratory experiments.
It is defined by Drug Watch as a yellow, odourless, liquid chemical one used to make rocket fuel.
It is also an environmental contaminant found in water and food, such as meat, dairy products and vegetables.
Drug Watch adds that it’s a “byproduct of several manufacturing processes and water chlorination”.
READ MORE: How to live longer: Anti-diabetic drug shown to reduce cancer risk to boost longevity
The commonly prescribed metformin drug was recalled after a probable carcinogen was detected in 33 batches.
The affected tablets were manufactured in India by Cadila Healthcare Limited and distributed in the U.S. by Viona.
Viona Pharmaceuticals responded to the discovery by voluntarily recalling the batches of its metformin hydrochloride extended-release 750 mg tablets, which are sold in 100-count bottles.
Expiration dates on the bottles date from June 2022 to March 2023, according to the FDA.
The health watchdog has advised patients to continue taking their medication, and contact their doctor for advice regarding alternative treatments.
No reports of illness or death have yet been related to the recall.
The FDA has previously announced in December 2019 that countries outside of the US had reported that NDMA may be present in metformin products, prompting an investigation.
Between May and November 2020, the agency asked at least six companies to voluntarily recall several lots of extended-release metformin after agency lab testing detected unacceptable levels of NDMA.
It comes as the FDA has made a second recall for Nitroglycerin Lingual Spray, which is administered to patients to relieve pain caused by coronary artery disease.
What is Metformin?
According to the NHS: “Metformin is a medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes, and to help prevent type 2 diabetes if you’re at risk of developing it.
“[It] is used when treating polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), although it’s not officially approved for PCOS.”
Human studies have shown that those who take metformin see improvements in the risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Further epidemiological work has associated metformin use with a lower incidence of cancer and mortality.
Some evidence even suggests the drug may lower the risk of mild cognitive impairment.
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