Natural supplement for arthritis sufferers recalled

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PITTSBURGH - Arthritis sufferers call it their magic purple pill because the results have been so amazing.

“After two days, my knee pain totally went away,” said Terry Perella.

Perella began taking Reumofan Plus a couple months ago and quickly noticed the pain going up and down the stairs was gone.

"Right now, my knees are sore.  My legs hurt. My legs feel like they're 90 years old. When I was taking the Reumofan it really didn't," he said.  “It was like a miracle.”

He figured Reumofan Plus, which is made in Mexico, was safe because the label said it is “all natural” and lists a handful of harmless herbs.

But the Food and Drug Administration found more than that and put out an alert.  Their lab discovered a prescription anti-inflammatory drug and a prescription muscle relaxant. Mexican authorities also discovered a steroid in at least one batch.

Rheumatologists said no wonder it was working so well.

"The supplement contains agents that are known to improve signs and symptoms of arthritis," said Dr. Fotios Koumpouras of West Penn Hospital.

However, those drugs also have serious side effects and people reported getting sick.

"In particular Diclofenac, which is one of the active ingredients, is associated with kidney failure in some people.  It can cause bleeding and bruising and can interact with blood thinners," said Koumpouras.  

It also increased the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Perella stopped taking Reumofan Plus after learning about the recall. For him, it just wasn’t worth it.

"If I have to worry about my health then I won't take them.  I'll live with the knee pain," he said

If you have been taking the supplement consult your doctor.