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Health chiefs recall batch of diabetes medicine Metformin after cancer-causing chemical find

Health chiefs recall batch of common diabetes medicine because it contains cancer-causing chemical once used to make rocket fuel


A batch of a common diabetes medicine has been recalled after it was found to contain a chemical that causes cancer. 

Pharmacies stocking the affected drug — an oral solution known as metformin — were told to pull it after finding ‘unacceptable’ levels of nitrosodimethylamine. 

The chemical, shortened to NDMA, is a known carcinogen once used in the commercial production of rocket fuel. 

Britain’s medical watchdog, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, said there was no proof it has caused any harm to patients. 

The batch contained 10,000 150ml bottles of generic metformin hydrochloride, made by Rosemont Pharmaceuticals Limited.

The MHRA urged Brits told not to stop taking the drugs without consulting their GP because suddenly stopping can be risky.

Pharmacies stocking the affected medicine— an oral solution known as metformin — were told to pull it after the cancer-causing impurity was detected

The medicines regulator said: ‘During testing prior to batch release, levels of the impurity NDMA in batch number 0LL0018 of metformin oral solution were found to be within acceptable limits.

‘However routine monitoring of the batch while on the market showed that levels of NDMA were no longer acceptable at nine months.’

No other batches have been found to be affected, it said.

Dr Alison Cave, MHRA chief safety officer, said: ‘Patient safety is at the heart of everything we do.

‘This recall of one batch of metformin oral solution is a precautionary measure to prevent further exposure to the nitrosamine impurity.

‘There is no evidence to date that this impurity has caused any harm to patients.

‘Individuals who have metformin oral solution from this batch at home should continue to take their medication. It is very important to speak to your doctor or pharmacist before stopping any treatment – they can address any concerns you may have and can advise you on the best course of action.

‘Healthcare professionals should check their stock to quarantine and return any units from this batch to their supplier using their supplier’s approved process.’

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