BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - For the past several weeks, popular blood pressure medications have been recalled and just days ago, another batch was added to the list, but experts say don’t make any sudden changes to your health plan just yet.
“Some patients just misunderstandingly think that when they hear recall, they automatically assume that this is my medicine,” said Dr. Orlando Palmer, co-owner and pharmacist at Parker’s Pharmacy.
The fact is, there’s a silver lining to this Losartan recall. While some 40 batches voluntarily recalled by Legacy Pharmaceutical Packaging are popular medications used, they don’t all come from the same place.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the recall Tuesday, Mar. 19.
“The Losartan medication has ten different manufacturers of that medication,” Dr. Palmer added. “Only one maker of the recall was included in that batch, so not everybody will have the same manufacturer of that particular medication.”
Pharmacies that work with patients every day to keep their blood pressure and congestive heart failure in check are on top of it. Dr. Palmer says when his staff is notified about a recall, they check to see if that particular drug and strength is in stock.
“‘We immediately check our shelves to see if we have any of this product on our shelves or if we have filled this product recently," he said.
He says every bottle of medication regulated by the FDA is required to have a lot number. That lot number helps determine if it’s included in the batch of recalls issued by the manufacturer. However, it’s likely if you take Losartan and were affected, a medical provider has already called.
“It’s something we’re dealing with on a daily basis right now,” said Dr. Jacob Wood, a physician with Baton Rouge General.
Doctors say it’s been a mad dash to switch patients to alternative medicines. The FDA says trace amounts of impurities like carcinogenics were found in the pills. Dr. Wood says being exposed to these small amounts for a short time won’t immediately be a problem or cause adverse reactions.
While that might sound scary, the FDA says do not stop taking the medicine. Experts say patients that do stop without a doctor’s orders could cause more harm than good, putting themselves at risk for heart attack or stroke.
“So continue to take your medicine for a couple of weeks, probably even a couple of months, maybe even longer than that, until you get over to the right medicine,” Dr. Wood said. “Stopping the medicine for something that’s not going to help you in the short term, but putting yourself at risk for something that could hurt you in the short term.”
Dr. Palmer says the medication is in the patient’s system to regulate a condition.
“So if they abruptly stop for recall or whatever reason, that can become problematic to their health,” he said.
Palmer says he and his staff work diligently to make sure the medication therapy for their patients isn’t disrupted, taking only a day or two to replace the recalled medicine. Experts say recalls are common, so don’t let this scare you from staying on top of your health, but if you have any doubt, contact your pharmacist.