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Diabetes Drug Metformin Might Contain Carcinogen

January 08, 2020

USA - The Food and Drug Administration is looking into whether Metformin, a drug used to treat diabetes, contains high levels of the carcinogenic contaminant N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), according to KTLA.COM.  Drugs can have up to 96 nanograms of NDMA pursuant to FDA regulations.*

Metformin is used to treat patients who have type 2 diabetes. No other drugs function the exact same way as Metformin.  As a result, there are no similar alternative drugs that treat diabetes the same way.  Despite the risk that the medication may be contaminated, the FDA is telling patients to continue taking their prescriptions as directed.

NDMA exists in small levels in food and water. Eating dairy, vegetables, and grilled meat likely exposes consumers to the substance. In high amounts, NDMA may increase people’s risk of developing cancer. 

A person taking a drug with 96 nanograms or less of NDMA will not increase their chances of developing cancer, even over the course of 70 years. Regulatory agencies in Singapore recalled the diabetes drug, and in Europe, the contaminant is also under investigation.

The FDA reported that the agency would be recommending recalls of the drugs if they find the levels of NDMA high enough to warrant such an action.

This is not the first time that the FDA and drug companies considered recalling drugs for contamination with NDMA. Pharmacies, including CVS, recalled Zantac, which is used to treat heartburn previously.  The recall went into effect because the over the counter medication contained low levels of NDMA. 

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Category: Product Liability

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