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FDA Issues Alert on Reumofan Plus; Dietary Supplement Used for Pain Relief

Health officials in Mexico order recall based on potentially harmful pharmaceutical ingredients

Description: Photo of Reumofan Plus packaging and bottle. The packaging and bottle include an image of a joint, such as a shoulder.June 8, 2012 - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers that Reumofan Plus, marketed as a “natural” dietary supplement for pain relief and other serious conditions, contains several active pharmaceutical ingredients not listed on the label that could be harmful.

Consumers who are currently taking Reumofan Plus, or who have recently stopped taking Reumofan Plus, should immediately consult a health care professional. Consumers should not buy or start using the product.

 

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Reumofan Plus is labeled in Spanish and promoted for treating arthritis, muscle pain, osteoporosis, bone cancer, and other conditions. The product is manufactured in Mexico by Riger Naturals and sold in some retail outlets, at flea markets, and on various internet sites. FDA has worked closely with the Mexican government on this matter. The Mexican Ministry of Health has issued a health warning to the public and ordered Riger Naturals to recall the product.

The FDA has received multiple reports of adverse events associated with the use of Reumofan Plus, including liver injury, sudden worsening of glucose (sugar) control, weight gain, swelling, leg cramps, and adrenal suppression (problems with kidney functioning).

An FDA laboratory analysis of Reumofan Plus found that it contains:

diclofenac sodium – a prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that may cause increased risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke, as well as serious gastrointestinal (GI) adverse events including bleeding, ulceration, and fatal perforation (causing a hole) of the stomach and intestines.

methocarbamol – a prescription muscle relaxant that can cause sedation, dizziness, low blood pressure, and impair mental or physical abilities to perform tasks such as driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery.

These ingredients also may interact with other medications and result in serious adverse events.

The Mexican Ministry of Health discovered that at least one lot of the product contains the corticosteroid dexamethasone, a drug that acts as an anti-inflammatory and immune system suppressant.

According to FDA adverse events reports, consumers reported symptoms suggesting that some lots of Reumofan Plus may contain corticosteroids. At least one report from a health care professional treating a patient with adverse events from using Reumofan Plus, confirmed adrenal suppression. Abrupt discontinuation of corticosteroids after long-term or high dose use can cause fatigue, nausea, low blood pressure, low blood sugar levels, fever, muscle, and joint pain, dizziness, and fainting.

Health care professionals are urged to ask their patients about use of Reumofan Plus and other products marketed as dietary supplements when patients present with unexplained symptoms that suggest NSAID toxicity, depression, or the use or abrupt discontinuation of corticosteroids.

Additionally, health care professionals should evaluate patients who have used Reumofan Plus for drug and disease interactions involving diclofenac, methocarbamol, and corticosteroids, and consider whether a corticosteroid taper regimen may be appropriate in those who have used Reumofan Plus.

Health care professionals and consumers are encouraged to report any adverse events related to Reumofan Plus to FDA’s MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:

  ● online at www.fda.gov/Medwatch/report.htm3;

  ● by phone at 800-FDA-1088 (800-332-1088); or,

  ● by returning FDA form 3500, available on the MedWatch “Download Forms” page by mail to the address on the pre-addressed form or by fax at 800-FDA-0178.

 

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