The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority has stopped distributing Valsartan, a generic medication used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure, after it was found to have an impurity and was made the subject of a recall issued by the United States Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency.
The HSA is contacting all patients who are currently prescribed Valsartan to provide a recommended alternative. Patients who have not received a call to change medications by July 21 should contact the HSA at 916-8301 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
The U.S. FDA advises patients on Valsartan to keep their medication until they are prescribed an alternative, because the risk of harm may be greater to just stop treatment without a new treatment.
Dr. Courtney Cummings, deputy medical director of the HSA, said the action is part of the HSA’s responsibility to monitor and respond to all alerts regarding safety of medicines dispensed to patients.
“This is also why we maintain a high level of vigilance in the monitoring, sourcing and dispensing of all pharmaceuticals to protect our patients,” said Dr. Cummings. At the moment, the HSA has not received any reports of adverse effects related to the recall.
Patients in the private sector who are using Valsartan should contact their pharmacist or physician about the advisability of selecting an alternative treatment.