HSA Recalls 3 Diabetes Drugs Found Contaminated With Cancer-Causing Impurity

Image: HSA


When the doctor prescribes medication for us, few of us actually think about what we’re putting into our bodies.

But pharmaceutical companies can obviously make mistakes. and the problem is that there’s no way to discern if a certain medication has an impurity, like this one diabetic medication.

HSA Recalls 3 Diabetes Drugs Found Contaminated With Cancer-Causing Impurity

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) recalled 3 versions of the drug Metformin on Thursday (5 Dec) after they were found to contain unsafe levels of an impurity that can potentially cause cancer.

In case you don’t know, Metformin is commonly prescribed to diabetic patients to control blood sugar levels.

Here are the three affected drugs HSA recalled.

1. Glucient XR Tablet 500mg

Image: HSA

2. Meijumet Prolonged Release Tablet 750mg

Image: HSA

3. Meijumet Prolonged Release Tablet 1000mg

Image: HSA

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) tested all 46 locally marketed metformin medicines and the remaining 43 are not affected.

So, as long as it’s not one of these three medications, you’re good.

According to The Straits Times, the recall comes as health authorities worldwide are checking if carcinogens can be found in unsafe levels in diabetes drugs that are widely used after discovering them in heart and gastric drugs.


The impurity found was N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a potential carcinogens for humans.

All three Metformin drugs were found to contain amounts of NDMA above the internationally acceptable level.

Low risk

There’s no need to panic, however.

HSA said that the risk to patients who have been taking the affected medicines is “very low” because the potential risk of nitrosamines is usually associated with long-term use, and the medicines have only been supplied here for a short period of time – since last year.

Shouldn’t stop taking medication

Now, even if you have one of these medications and have been taking them, the HSA has advised you not to stop taking them.

Doing so will raise blood sugar levels which could pose a greater health risk than the trace amounts of NDMA in the affected medicines.

If you’re already taking these drugs and concerned about continuing your treatment, please speak to your doctor or pharmacist before you make any decisions.

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