Study shows rise in cancer cases among valsartan users after FDA recall

Bottles of the blood pressure medication Valsartan on a pharmacy shelf.

A recent study published in the medical journal Circulation found that there was a sharp rise in cancer diagnoses between 2017 and 2018 among patients taking the blood pressure drug valsartan. The Food and Drug Administration announced a massive recall of valsartan in 2018 after tests showed that the drug was contaminated with a chemical that could increase the risk of cancer.

Valsartan is part of a class of heart medications known as angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs). The drug has been prescribed for decades to treat millions of Americans patients with high blood pressure, heart failure, and other common heart conditions. Some of the manufacturers of drugs containing valsartan include Actavis, Aurobindo, Hetero/Camber, Macleods Pharmaceutical, Mylan, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Torrent Pharmaceuticals.

In July 2018, the FDA revealed that valsartan and other blood pressure medications were contaminated with two industrial chemicals – N-Nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA) and N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) – that are known to cause cancer. The FDA ordered the manufacturers of drugs containing valsartan and other cardiovascular medications to issue a recall because of the risk that they could cause cancer.

Following the FDA’s valsartan recall, researchers at the University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in Ohio launched a study to analyze the number of cancer cases that may be linked to the blood pressure drug. The study found that there was an “abrupt” rise in the number of cancer cases among patients who were taking valsartan.

Analyzing data from the FDA’s Adverse Events Reporting System (FAERS), researchers found that the number of adverse events among valsartan users that involved cancer rose from just 1.8% to more than 18%. Although cancer cases comprise just 8.7% of adverse events for ARBs, about 14.7% of all adverse event reports for valsartan involved cancers.

Since the FDA ordered a recall of valsartan and similar heart medications, dozens of lawsuits have been filed on behalf of patients who were diagnosed with cancer after taking these drugs. Legal experts say that they expect the number of valsartan lawsuits filed in the U.S. to exceed 2,000 cases by next year.

Contact Hissey, Mulderig & Friend for a Free Legal Consultation

If you or a loved one used valsartan to treat high blood pressure, heart failure, or other cardiovascular problems and were diagnosed with cancer, you may be eligible to take legal action. The first step in finding out whether you may qualify to file a claim is to speak with an experienced pharmaceutical liability attorney to learn more about your legal rights.

The lawyers at Hissey, Mulderig & Friend have filed thousands of lawsuits on behalf of patients and families who were harmed by dangerous drugs, defective medical devices, or other hazardous products. Our attorneys believe that all clients who have been harmed by dangerous consumer products should have the right to experienced, professional legal counsel to ensure that their legal rights are fully protected.

To learn more about filing a valsartan lawsuit and to find out whether you may qualify to file a claim, contact the lawyers at Hissey, Mulderig & Friend for a free legal consultation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-866-806-8117, or by answering a few simple questions in our free case evaluation form on the right side of this page.

About the Author: Hissey, Mulderig & Friend