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Health Alert: Pfizer Recalls Inderal Capsules over Potential Cancer Risk

Pfizer in Canada has recalled its Inderal-LA capsules, used to treat high blood pressure, due to higher than normal levels of nitrosamine, a potentially cancer-causing chemical.

The Canadian government site Canada.ca announced the recall informing that Pfizer is recalling all lots of Inderal-LA (propranolol hydrochloride) capsules due to the presence of a nitrosamine impurity. The recalled lots of capsules include those in 60 mg, 80 mg, 120 mg and 160 mg strength categories.

The update on Pfizer’s recall of Inderal comes with the advice:

Continue taking your medication unless you have been advised to stop by your health care provider. Not treating your condition poses a greater health risk.

TradingView reported on the story and wrote that there is no immediate risk in continuing to take the recalled medication as noted by Health Canada. The risk of cancer comes with long-term intake.

Nitrosamine Sources and Health Risks

American Pharmaceutical Review summarized the scientific information on nitrosamine including its chemistry, sources, and health risks associated with it. Sources of nitrosamine listed in their article include:

  • foods
  • cosmetics
  • tobacco products
  • industrial solvents
  • alcoholic beverages

Several drug products have been found to contain nitrosamine and Pfizer’s Inderal-LA is the latest to join the list. Patient safety has been an increasing concern accordingly.

Health risks associated with continued nitrosamine exposure/intake include cancer as well as benign tumors. N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a comparatively well-researched nitrosamine, has been assessed for cancer risk in some studies. The article wrote:

Dose-related associations of colorectal, stomach, esophageal, and oropharyngeal cancers with estimated NDMA exposure were identified in several case-control studies.

Dietary NDMA was also found to carry an increased risk associated with lung cancer.

Contact Pfizer Canada ULC at 1-800-463-6001 or www.pfizermedinfo.ca for medical inquiries and at 1-800-387-4974 for general inquiries if you have questions about the recall.

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