Diabetes is one of the most common acquired conditions in the United States. Older and overweight adults are at especially high risk of eventually developing type 2 diabetes. Many people manage their symptoms through the use of prescription medications — not all of which are insulin or insulin-replacement medications.

Some of these medications work to reduce blood sugar or glucose through measures other than taking synthetic insulin. Unfortunately, one of the more popular diabetes drugs has recently been part of a massive recall because batches of it were found to have been contaminated with a known carcinogen.

The process of making drugs is a very complex one, and pharmaceutical companies don’t always consider the secondary impact of substituting one chemical process for one another. Unfortunately for some companies that produce metformin medications, one of the byproducts of certain chemical processes is the dangerous compound N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).

This month, for that reason, Marksans Pharma Limited announced that it has voluntarily recalled batches of Metformin Hydrochloride Extended-Release Tablets. This follows an earlier massive recall  for contamination with the same dangerous chemical, NDMA.

What happens to patients after they take a defective drug?

Those exposed to contaminated metformin medications should receive recall information early so that they can minimize their exposure by ceasing to take the medication or replacing it with a prescription from a source known to not be affected.

For those who may eventually experience severe medical consequences, such as cancer, because of a defective drug, it may be possible to take legal action against the manufacturer who failed to ensure the safety of the product marketed for human consumption.