During the recent years, several popular medications of varied purpose have been recalled, due to the contamination with the carcinogen N-Nitrosodimethylamine. Those episodes have attracted much attention to the problem and have stimulated authorities in varied countries to conduct further researches and to test more products.
So, about a year ago, the FDA started to test popular medication for type 2 diabetes called metformin for the contamination with the carcinogen mentioned and that eventually resulted in a series of recalls.
Basic Facts about the Recent Metformin Recalls
Let us start with discussing the medication itself. As it has been noted above, metformin is the medicine used for managing type 2 diabetes ― the condition when the organism cannot respond to insulin in a proper way and cannot make full use of it. As a result, glucose does not get into cells in sufficient amounts and the organism starts to pull energy from other sources in the tissues and organs. When a patient has type 2 diabetes, the level of glucose in his blood is too high.
Metformin is aimed at normalizing the level of glucose in the blood. It works by decreasing the production of glucose by the liver and increasing the sensitivity to insulin, so that the organism uses it more effectively.
One should note that in the USA the number of citizens suffering from diabetes exceeds 10% of the total population. And about 90–95% of them have type 2 diabetes. More to the point, metformin is the most widely-used drug for this problem in the USA. In fact, according to statistics, it is one of top 5 most frequently prescribed medications in the country. So, the problem of contamination of medications containing this active substance is both acute and urgent.
Speaking about the research, its goal was to find out whether the doses of N-Nitrosodimethylamine in samples tested complied with the acceptable daily norm ― 96 nanograms. The FDA have tested medications from several drug manufacturers and found out that 5 companies have failed to preserve the safe norm of N-Nitrosodimethylamine. So, the use of their metformin products may lead to accumulation of the carcinogen specified in dangerous quantities, which may increase a risk of oncological problems. As a result, these manufacturers were recommended to voluntarily recall their extended-release metformin items. These measures did not affect immediate-release formulations of this drug.
By the way, the findings of the FDA have also attracted attention of authorities from other countries. For example, Canadian authorities have also recalled several lots of metformin products.
What Should Patients Taking Metformin Do?
Here are key recommendations:
- There is no reason for panic, even if you have been taking the medication for a significant period of time.
- You should not stop using the medicine unless that is recommended by your doctor. Diabetes is a serious health problem that can cause dangerous consequences in case the treatment is interrupted.
- It is advisable to contact your doctor in order to get further instructions on the use of metformin. A specialist may either recommend buying a product with metformin from a different producer or prescribe a different medication.
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Other Measures that Will Help to Get Control Over Type 2 Diabetes
All people suffering from diabetes of any type should keep in mind that taking medications prescribed by a doctor is not enough for feeling healthy and leading a full life. Here are other crucial steps that will make a positive impact on your condition:
- Make changes to the diet. Give preference to products that are high in nutrients, fiber and right carbohydrates. Avoid foods containing too many empty calories, transfats, added sugar. Minimize animal fats. Such a diet will help you stabilize the glucose level and will help your heart and other organs stay healthy.
- Schedule main meals and snacks. Strive to eat at equal intervals.
- Avoid overeating.
- Keep to a healthy weight.
- Pay about 30 minutes to aerobic activities every day. That will both make a positive impact on the general state of your health and help to keep the level of glucose stable.
Today, managing diabetes is quite easy. There is a wide range of effective medicines and testing options available. The main point is to take medical treatment seriously and to stick to the suitable lifestyle.