Recalls of the popular diabetes drug metformin continue to occur after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced recently that some forms of the medicine were found to be contaminated with N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a chemical that may contribute to the development of some cancers.
Pharmaceutical companies recall metformin
Marksans Pharma Limited, an India-based drug manufacturer, now joins a list of several other drug companies that have issued recalls on the drug metformin based on information indicating NDMA contamination. The FDA has asked manufacturers of the extended release (ER) version of metformin to review its safety and determine if it contains any levels of NDMA above authorized limits.
If manufacturers find levels of NDMA above the acceptable limit established by the FDA, they must notify the FDA and stop all marketing and selling of the product immediately. The federal agency is conducting an ongoing investigation of how NDMA was included in metformin in the first place, making it a dangerous drug for many consumers.
What is metformin?
Metformin hydrochloride (metformin) is a chemical used in the treatment of diabetes. It is formulated to reduce a person’s glucose (blood sugar) levels. As the most common oral drug used to treat diabetes, metformin is often combined with exercise, diet, and weight loss or other lifestyle changes to help control blood sugar in adults with Type 2 diabetes or who are pre-diabetic. The drug is not used to treat Type 1 diabetes. Metformin is sold as a generic medication, but is also sold on the market under various brand names such as Glumetza, Fortamet, Glucophage, Glucophage XR, and Riomet.
What is NDMA?
Based on lab results, the FDA designates NDMA as a potential human carcinogen. This chemical is found in various consumer food products such as meat, dairy, certain vegetables, and drinking water, along with having a presence in the natural environment. This is the same chemical that was discovered in Zantac (ranitidine), which precipitated a large FDA recall of that drug, instigating thousands of lawsuits claiming Zantac causes cancer. The FDA has set a limit on the quantity of NDMA a person can safely consume each day.
Research has linked the consumption of NDMA and approximately 20 different types of cancer. These include liver cancer, esophageal cancer, bladder cancer, intestinal cancer, pancreatic cancer, and stomach cancer, among others.
What to do if you are currently taking metformin
If you are currently taking a type of metformin medication under recall, according to the FDA, you should consult with your physician for any alternative treatment option. However, the FDA also stresses the need for those on metformin to consult with their doctor first before stopping the prescription. Failure to speak with your doctor about dropping the medication and the possible negative consequences could be dangerous. If you do stop taking the drug in conjunction with the advice of your doctor and you think you might want to pursue a claim, you should keep in a safe place any unused quantity of your metformin along with prescriptions, receipts or statements that prove that you purchased the drug.
If you or a loved one has taken metformin or any other potentially dangerous drug and suffered health issues as a result, the Richmond dangerous drug attorneys as Phelan Petty are here to help. We can prepare an effective case on your behalf to seek compensation for your losses. To request a free case review, call us today at 804.980.7100 or fill out our contact form and leave us a message.