By Emily Joshu Health Reporter for Dailymail.Com
2:17 pm October 11, 2023, updated 3:02 pm October 11, 2023
- The FDA found that at least 22 arthritis medications contain hidden ingredients
- These ingredients may interact with other medications or cause side effects
- READ MORE: Brushing your teeth properly reduces the risk of arthritis later in life
Arthritis medications taken by up to one in four U.S. adults may contain harmful ingredients that are not printed on their labels, health officials warn.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) spent 10 years evaluating the ingredients of over-the-counter arthritis and pain medications and found that 22 purposefully contain active ingredients like corticosteroids and muscle relaxants.
The agency warned that adding these ingredients and not labeling them could put the 58 million Americans with arthritis at risk for serious health problems, such as kidney and liver problems. It can also be dangerous for those who already take medications with these ingredients.
“It is clear from the results of our decade of testing that retailers and distributors, including online marketplaces, do not effectively prevent these types of potentially harmful products from being sold to consumers,” the FDA wrote.
‘The FDA cannot test every product on the market that contains potentially harmful hidden ingredients. Enforcement actions and consumer alerts for contaminated products cover only a small fraction of contaminated over-the-counter products on the market.
“Even if a product is not included on this list, consumers should exercise caution before using these types of arthritis and pain management products.”
Many of the affected products were advertised and sold in retail stores and online marketplaces like Etsy and Amazon. They may contain undisclosed ingredients in the NSAID, steroid, and muscle relaxant families.
NSAIDs are medications used to reduce inflammation and treat inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, headaches, and muscle injuries. Common examples that may be hidden in arthritis medications include ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, piroxicam, and ketorolac.
The FDA has warned that these could interact with other medications and increase the risk of certain health problems, such as heart problems and liver damage. Additionally, the agency also warned that pregnant women should avoid taking NSAIDs during the first half of pregnancy.
Unhealthy bacteria in the mouth have links to autoimmune diseases
Researchers at the Amsterdam Academic Center for Dentistry have discovered a similar link between oral health and the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis
Corticosteroids are also anti-inflammatory medications that can treat severe arthritis and other types of pain. Dexamethasone and prednisone are two of the most common examples. When taken for long periods of time or in high doses, they can cause extreme fatigue, muscle weakness, loss of appetite and weight loss, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).
Unlike anabolic steroids, which are synthetic variations of male sex hormones that promote muscle growth, corticosteroids are used to treat health problems such as allergies, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and autoimmune diseases.
Muscle relaxants treat muscle pain and swelling, as well as injuries such as lower back pain. This can cause sedation, dizziness and low blood pressure.
Arthritis is swelling or tenderness of one or more joints. There are more than 100 subtypes and the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
The most common symptoms are pain, redness, heat, stiffness, decreased range of motion and swelling in the joints. Federal data suggests that 25 million adults must limit their daily activities due to arthritis symptoms, and that number is expected to grow by 2040.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the condition affects 24% of adults in the US, or about 54 million. The condition is most common in adults over the age of 65. The CDC estimates that half of U.S. adults over age 65 have the disease, while nearly a third of people ages 45 to 65 have been diagnosed.
Treatment includes over-the-counter and prescription medications and management activities. When taken in high doses, they can cause sedation and dizziness. They have also been shown to lower blood pressure, which can cause weakness, fainting, blurred vision, and nausea.
Osteoarthritis, the most common form, is a degenerative disease that breaks down joint tissues over time. Another common type, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s immune system attacks healthy cells in the body’s joints, causing swelling and inflammation. RA can also cause heart, lung, and eye problems.
The FDA encouraged consumers to report adverse effects to its MedWatch reporting program.
Which arthritis medications contain undisclosed ingredients?
The FDA has identified 22 brands of arthritis medications and other pain relievers that contain NSAIDs, steroids and muscle relaxants that are not disclosed on the labels.
The agency said this list represents only a small fraction of the “contaminated” medicines.
Below are products that the FDA recommends consumers avoid:
- Kuka Flex Strong
- Reumo Flex T
- Tapee Tea
- Fast-acting rheumatism capsule
- New fast-acting rheumatism
- UA Block
- AK Forte
- Arthur King
- Ortiga Mas Ajo Rey
- Ortiga Mas Ajo Rey Extra Strong
- Liar Tawon
- Artri Ajo King
- Linsen Double Caulis Plus
- Pyrola Advanced Joint Formula
- Saureano Fong Sep Lin
- Jianbu Huqian Wan
- Ginseng She Lian Wan
- Asihuri Plus Strong
- Pro ArtMax
Source: Food and Drug Administration
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