The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHaP) has advised diabetic patients in the country not to stop taking the Metformin drug or adjust dosage without consulting their physicians. This directive has come in the light of reports issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) regarding the presence of the N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) impurity at levels higher than the permitted rates in some brands of the Metformin drug, which is prescribed to treat patients with Type 2 diabetes.
NDMA is found in low levels in many food items, drinking water and polluted air, but exposure to it at high levels daily and for long periods can increase risk of cancer, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
The Health Ministry said that unacceptable levels of NDMA has not yet been found in the imported Metformin products or raw material. It underlined that all the precautionary measures have been taken for patients’ health and safety, and that it constantly follows up on the proportions of NDMA in raw material imported by drug manufacturing companies.
Dr. Amin Hussein Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary of MoHaP’s Public Health Policy and Licenses, said that MoHaP was still conducting necessary analyses of pharmaceutical preparations that contain NDMA, and those products found with above-acceptable levels of NDMA will be withdrawn from the market. He urged physicians not to stop prescribing the drug until they get updated information from the ministry.
Al Amiri noted that MoHAP communicates on a daily basis with international organisations such as the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency to investigate warnings related to any pharmaceuticals.
With agency inputs