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Diabetes Drug Recalled Over Cancer Risk

Probable carcinogen detected in 33 batches of metformin tablets distributed nationwide

An unrecognizable male nurse reads a label on a prescription medication container.
Getty Images

A commonly prescribed medication used to treat type 2 diabetes is facing a recall due to the presence of a potentially cancer-causing substance.

Viona Pharmaceuticals has voluntarily recalled 33 batches of its Metformin Hydrochloride Extended-Release 750 mg tablets sold in 100-count bottles with expiration dates ranging from June 2022 to March 2023, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Dec. 28. ​N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a probable human carcinogen, was detected during testing.​​

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See the list of specific batch numbers on the recall announcement page here. ​

Metformin, which helps control blood sugar levels and is often prescribed for people with type 2 diabetes, has been subject to recalls in the past. However, the FDA advises patients to continue taking their medication and contact their physician for advice regarding an alternative treatment. It may be dangerous to stop taking metformin without first speaking to a health care professional.​​

Recall on Metformin Hydrochloride Extended-Release Tablets, USP
Courtesy Viona Pharmaceuticals

As of Jan. 3, Viona has not received any reports of illness or death related to this recall. NDMA is an environmental contaminant found in water and food, such as meat, dairy products and vegetables. The affected tablets were manufactured in India by Cadila Healthcare Limited and distributed in the U.S. by Viona.​​

What to do with recalled drugs

The company says it is notifying customers by email and mail to arrange for them to return the recalled products to its recall processor at:​

Eversana Life Science Services
​c/o Viona recall​
ATTN: Returns Department
​4580 S. Mendenhall Rd.​
Memphis, TN 38141​​

Consumers with questions regarding the recall may contact Eversana Life Science Services toll free at 888-304-5022, option 1; Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. CT. Meanwhile, those with medical-related questions or who want to report an adverse event or have quality issues about the drug may call Viona Pharmaceuticals at 888-304-5011, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET.​​

Adverse reactions or quality problems may also be reported to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by mail or fax using this downloadable form.​

Aaron Kassraie writes about issues important to military veterans and their families for AARP. He also serves as a general assignment reporter. Kassraie previously covered U.S. foreign policy as a correspondent for the Kuwait News Agency’s Washington bureau and worked in news gathering for USA Today and Al Jazeera English.

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