Cancer-Linked Chemical Found in Diabetes Drugs, Merck Vows to Take Action

Merck & Co. announced plans to address contamination issues in its widely used diabetes medications, including Janumet, Januvia, and Steglujan (sitagliptin), after the presence of cancer-causing nitrosamines was discovered. The company is taking steps to ensure the safety of its type 2 diabetes patients.

But how serious is this issue and what action should you take? Read on to find out.

Understanding Nitrosamines

The National Capital Poison Control Center classifies nitrosamines as a group of substances formed from chemical reactions between nitrites, nitrates, and other proteins. They can be found in common foods like leafy greens and processed meat. They are also present in toys, cosmetics, condoms, tobacco smoke, and vehicle emissions.

Some nitrosamines are classified as carcinogens and are known to contribute to cancer in laboratory animals. They may also increase the risk of certain cancers in people when consumed above acceptable levels over a long period of time. It’s important to note that while nitrosamines can be found in various products, their levels are often regulated to minimize potential health risks.

Nitrosamines in Medications

The presence of nitrosamines in pharmaceuticals has also been identified previously. The FDA, in partnership with other regulatory bodies globally, has established acknowledged limits for daily nitrosamines intake. If a medication contains nitrosamine levels exceeding this limit, the FDA suggests the manufacturer recalls the product immediately.

What You Should Do

Medical authorities warn people not to stop taking any medication known to contain nitrosamines until they seek advice from their doctors. Your healthcare provider can help you make informed decisions as they have better understanding of your overall health and past medical history.

Talk to your pharmacist to find out if any of the drugs you use are subject to FDA recall requests. You can also check the recall information on the FDA’s official website.

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