Analysis of an Impurity, N-Nitrosodimethylamine, in Valsartan Drug Substances and Associated Products Using GC-MS

Biol Pharm Bull. 2019 Apr 1;42(4):547-551. doi: 10.1248/bpb.b19-00006. Epub 2019 Feb 7.


Valsartan products, commonly used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure, have been recalled in many countries due to the presence of an impurity, N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), in the recalled products. We present and evaluate a GC-MS-based analytical method for the determination of NDMA levels and attempt an investigation of NDMA concentrations in valsartan drug substances and associated products. The limit of detection and limit of quantification for the method were estimated to be 0.1 and 0.5 µg/g, respectively, when testing a 0.5-g sample. A good trueness (99%) with a small relative standard deviation (1.9%) was obtained for a valsartan product spiked with NDMA at a concentration of 1.0 µg/g. Additionally, a valsartan drug substance and the associated product, which were previously determined to have NDMA contamination, were analyzed by the method. The NDMA content by our method was very close to previously determined values. Finally, six samples, including valsartan drug substances and associated, commercially available products in Japan, all of which were derived from the company implicated in the NDMA contamination, were analyzed by our method, revealing that none of these samples contained detectable concentrations of NDMA. Overall, the data indicate that the present method is reliable and useful for determination of NDMA in valsartan drug substances and associated products.

Keywords: GC-MS; N-nitrosodimethylamine; drug substance; product; valsartan.

MeSH terms

  • Analytic Sample Preparation Methods
  • Antihypertensive Agents / analysis*
  • Antihypertensive Agents / standards
  • Dimethylnitrosamine / analysis*
  • Drug Contamination / prevention & control*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Japan
  • Limit of Detection
  • Tablets
  • Valsartan / analysis*
  • Valsartan / standards


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Tablets
  • Valsartan
  • Dimethylnitrosamine