Everyone would like to find an easy cure. Especially if it didn't require a trip to the doctor. The Internet has opened a vast 24-hour pharmacy that offers a pill for every ill; cheap, anonymous and without the need for those pesky prescriptions. Too good to be true? Maybe so.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for ensuring the safety of drugs. Unfortunately, many diet pills are labeled as “supplements” to avoid FDA scrutiny. Because of a loophole in the regulations, supplements can be sold without FDA approval as long as the labeling does not claim to cure or treat a specific illness. That’s a pretty bit loophole!
Recently, the FDA has issued a consumer alert regarding the supplements Reumofan Plus and Reumofan Plus Premium. Since June 1, 2012, when FDA first warned the public about the dangers of these supplements, the agency has received reports of fatalities, stroke, severe bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, dizziness, insomnia, high blood sugar levels and problems with the liver and kidneys. These supplements are intended to treat arthritis and sore muscles, but given the FDA loophole, many web sites are selling these pills to treat everything from acne to weight gain. Taking these supplements can be very dangerous and even discontinuing these supplements carries risks.
Both Reumofan Plus and Reumofan Plus Premium ingredients that are not listed on the label. Some of these ingredients, dexamethasone, diclofenac sodium and methocarbamol, are only available by prescription because of their serious health risks if taken inappropriately. These risks include low blood pressure, low or high blood sugar, ulcers and gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, fever, nausea, dizziness and sleepiness. Some interactions can even cause death.
Dexamethasone is an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid. This mouthful means that it can reduce swelling in muscle tissue. Unfortunately it can also cause bone and muscle damage, depression and psychotic episodes. Sudden discontinuation of dexamethasone can also be dangerous.
Diclofenac sodium is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, so it also helps with swelling in muscle tissue. It has nasty side-effects like ruptures in the stomach and intestines, GI bleeding, heart attack and stroke. Methocarbamol is a muscle relaxer that can cause drowsiness, low blood pressure and impaired mental acuity. That’s quite a combination!
Reumofan Plus is just one example of a mislabeled medicine that can cause health problems far worse than the issues it tries to correct. There is one easy way to avoid these risks: always consult your doctor before taking any new supplements and trust the medications that actually require a prescription. You will be glad you did!