Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is recalling five batches of its hypertension drug Accupril after it was found to contain elevated levels of chemicals that cause cancer. The drugs were distributed in the United States and Puerto Rico between December 2019 and April 2022, the company said in a release.
The announcement about the recall was made on March 22 and contains five batches of pills, each containing 90 bottles.
Pfizer has described the recall as "voluntary".
The cancer-causing agent found in the Pfizer drug is nitrosamine. Also known as Nnitroso-quinapril, they are common in water and foods, including cured and grilled meats, dairy products and vegetables, according to US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“Everyone is exposed to some level of nitrosamines. These impurities may increase the risk of cancer if people are exposed to them above acceptable levels over long periods of time,” it further said in a release.
The Canada unit of Pfizer also recalled all lots of three doses of Accupril last week after finding the same impurity to be above acceptable levels.
The pharma company said that no immediate risk to patients taking this medication was found. “Pfizer believes the benefit/risk profile of the products remains positive based on currently available data,” it said.
Pfizer had last month also recalled some batches of another blood pressure drug Accuretic and two authorised cheaper versions due to the presence of the possible carcinogen.
Accupril is used for the treatment of hypertension, to lower blood pressure. It is also indicated in the management of heart failure as adjunctive therapy when added to conventional therapy including diuretics and/or digitalis.
The company has asked people taking Accupril to consult with their doctor about alternative treatment options.