Valsartan recalls in U.S. and Canada; vaccine news

(July 15, 2018) Update November 2019:
For the most recent article on valsartan recalls, go to:

From FDA: Common hypertension drug recalled in the U.S. and more than 20 other countries
On Friday, the FDA announced voluntary recalls of some valsartan products, due to possible contamination with carcinogenic ingredient, N-nitrosodimethylamine or NMDA. The discovery was announced by the European Medicines Agency (similar to the U.S. FDA) about two weeks ago, following a discovery of the ingredient in valsartan products provided by the supplier (Chinese company Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals). Initially, it was thought that the U.S. was not affected, but now the FDA has identified three companies with contaminated product. The FDA's release on Friday identifies these products and three associated companies:

Valsartan Major Pharmaceuticals
Valsartan Solco Healthcare
Valsartan Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.
Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) Solco Healthcare
Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.

Sources and more reading:

FDA press release Friday, July 13: "FDA announces voluntary recall of several medicines containing valsartan following detection of an impurity"
Solco Healthcare has provided information to consumers on affected lots of the drug. (press release by Solco Healthcare)
Teva and Major Pharmaceuticals have not yet released any instructions at the FDA for consumers or lists of affected products.
Common heart drug recalled in 22 countries because of possible cancer link (CNN report)
Health Canada recalls valsartan from five companies. Affected lots and instructions for consumers

New on AskaPatient: shingles vaccines reviews
Have you taken the recently approved "Shingrix" shingles vaccine? GlaxoSmithkline reports that the product is 90% effective in preventing shingles and will reduce the severity of painful post-herpetic neuralgia that can linger on after the rash clears. Shingrix is now the CDC's recommended shingles vaccine for folks 50 and over, and requires two doses. The drawback: this vaccine has a greater risk of side effects than the live-virus shingles vaccine Zostavax, which has been on the market since 2006. Patients who have already received Zostavax may also benefit from a Shingrix vaccination.
If you've received a vaccination with Shingrix and/or Zostavax, click vaccine name below to share your experience at AskaPatient:

Shingles Vaccine Type FDA Link
Rating Form for Shingrix approved October 2017

Read more than 20 patient experiences:
Shingrix Reviews

Zoster Vaccine Recombinant, Adjuvanted (RZV) Package Insert
Rating form for Zostavax approved May 2006
Zoster Vaccine, Live (ZVL) Patient Insert
Shingrix Vaccine Label - GSK

More vaccine information: for the upcoming 2018-2019 flu season, there is good news for people who prefer the intranasal spray as an alternative to the flu shot: the CDC says that while they did not recommend it last year because it was not shown to be effective enough, FluMist will once again be recommended as a vaccination option in the next flu season. Check out their report on the CDC site.

Sources and more reading:
CDC: Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System:
Should I get the new shingles vaccine? by Harriet Hall,
Consumer Reports: The new shingles vaccine: what you should know