Pfizer recalls some lots of blood pressure medication due to possible carcinogen

The pharmaceutical giant said it was recalling six lots of Accuretic tablets, because of the presence of nitrosamine.

Due to the presence of high quantities of a nitrosamine, a potential cancer-causing impurity, Pfizer announced on Monday that it was recalling some lots of the blood pressure drug Accuretic and two authorized cheaper versions of the drug. Pfizer said it has not received any reports of adverse events related to the drug till date. Nitrosamines are found in cured and grilled meats, dairy products, and vegetables, among other places. Long-term exposure to impurities at levels above what is considered safe could raise the risk of cancer. However, there is no immediate risk to patients taking the drug according to Pfizer. Patients who are presently using the medications should speak with their doctors about other treatment alternatives, according to the company.

"Pfizer believes the benefit/risk profile of the products remains positive based on currently available data," the company said in a news release. “Although long-term ingestion of N-nitroso-quinapril may be associated with a potential increased cancer risk in humans, there is no immediate risk to patients taking this medication.” Accuretic was recalled by Pfizer Canada earlier this month due to the presence of the same impurity. Long-term exposure to N-nitroso-quinapril at a level above what is considered acceptable may increase the risk of cancer, Health Canada said, adding there is no immediate risk with temporary use of Accuretic. Last year, the company also had to recall Chantix, an anti-smoking medication, due to high amounts of nitrosamine in the pills.