FDA finds carcinogen in popular diabetes drug

The FDA said it found unacceptable levels of a carcinogen in a popular diabetes drug after months of testing, STAT reported. 

Valisure, an online pharmacy that tests drugs before shipping them to customers, said in early March that it found high levels of N-nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA, a cancer-causing chemical when ingested at high levels, in 16 batches of metformin, a drug used to control blood pressure in Type 2 diabetes patients. 

The FDA said in March that it had tested metformin recently but found no levels to be higher than the acceptable limit. But on May 27, the agency said further testing found "unacceptable" levels of NDMA in metformin, according to STAT.

The carcinogen was found in extended-release versions of metformin, but not immediate-release versions. 

The FDA said it is contacting drugmakers to take "quick and appropriate action" but didn't say if it would recommend any recalls, STAT reported. 

NDMA is the same substance that was found in ranitidine, a common blood pressure and heartburn pill, that prompted widespread recalls

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