A TYPE of high blood pressure medication is being recalled due to concerns of contamination with a potentially carcinogenic chemical.

Pharmacies across the UK have been told to activate recall procedures for all batches of medicines containing valsartan that are made by Dexcel Pharma Ltd and Accord Healthcare, which was once known as Actavis Group.

The precautionary measure was ordered by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency after it emerged an impurity had been found in a valsartan active substance made at a facility based in China.

The discovery of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) and a second impurity, N-Nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA), has prompted a Europe-wide recall.

However, the UK watchdog said there was currently no evidence the medicines had caused harm to patients and urged anyone taking them to speak to their doctor before stopping treatments.

Dr Sam Atkinson, MHRA director of the inspection, enforcement and standards division, said: "Our highest priority is making sure the medicines you take are safe.

"Our investigation into potential contamination of sartan-containing medicines, including irbesartan, is ongoing.

"At present, there is no evidence that medicines containing NDMA or NDEA have caused any harm to patients.

"Because of the risk associated with suddenly stopping high blood pressure medication, people are advised not to stop any treatments without consulting their doctor or pharmacist."

Pharmacies were told to stop supplying a series of batches of irbesartan, quarantine all remaining stock and return it to suppliers using recall processes.