When thousands of diabetic Americans and their loved ones turned on the news last week, it was to startling news: companies, under the advice of the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), issued a recall for a critical drug for many type 2 diabetics.

Metformin works in conjunction with other diabetes medications to stimulate the pancreas’s creation of insulin in the body. It is a very common drug and thousands of diabetics take the drug multiple times a day. A recently released lot of Metformin distributed by five different pharmaceutical companies is contaminated with a known carcinogen.

The problem

Extended-release tablets contained a chemical called NDMA. When present in large enough amounts, the medical community knows it causes cancer. Right now, the FDA does not know how long the chemical has been present in Metformin or how it got into the drug. This means that some people may have already suffered exposure for longer than they know and may experience NDMA’s cancer-causing effects.

The next steps

The FDA suggests individuals who take Metformin go to their doctor and speak about their options. Your medical needs will be distinct to you, and whether you continue your medication regime or you switch medications should be done under the advisement of a medical professional.

In the weeks and months to come, we will find out more about the medical ramifications of Metformin’s contamination. You should pay attention to new and updated information. If you experience symptoms and believe they are connected to contaminated extended-release Metformin, you should first seek medical help. Then you can explore legal options.