DIABETES medicine has been recalled after it was found to contain a cancer-causing chemical.
Batches of the drug, known as metformin, have been pulled from pharmacies after "unacceptable" levels of nitrosodimethylaine were found.
The chemical was once used in the production of rocket fuel.
NDMA has also been identified as a risk factor in the development of certain cancers.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said the move was precautionary, with no proof any harm has been caused.
The affected batch was first sent out in December, made up of 10,000 150ml bottles of metformin hydrochloride for diabetes patients.
It is largely used by people who have type 2 diabetes or people at risk of developing the disease, but can also be taken by women who have polycystic ovary syndrome.
The MHRA said: "During testing prior to batch release, levels of the impurity NDMA in batch number 0LL0018 of metformin oral solution were found to be within acceptable limits.
"However routine monitoring of the batch while on the market showed that levels of NDMA were no longer acceptable at nine months."
No other batches are thought to have been affected by the contamination.
And experts stressed people should not abruptly stop taking their medication without consulting a pharmacist or doctor first.
They warned that suddenly stopping medication for high blood-pressure can be risky.
Dr Alison Cave, MHRA chief safety officer, said: "Patient safety is at the heart of everything we do.
"This recall of one batch of metformin oral solution is a precautionary measure to prevent further exposure to the nitrosamine impurity.
"There is no evidence to date that this impurity has caused any harm to patients.
"Individuals who have metformin oral solution from this batch at home should continue to take their medication. It is very important to speak to your doctor or pharmacist before stopping any treatment – they can address any concerns you may have and can advise you on the best course of action.
"Healthcare professionals should check their stock to quarantine and return any units from this batch to their supplier using their supplier's approved process."
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