A “medical food” called Limbrel, which doctors prescribe to treat osteoarthritis of the knee, has been linked to several cases of liver disease in a small study. The effects seem to be rare and easily reversible, but patients should be aware of the potential for harm.
The “medical food” is marketed as Limbrel, also known as flavocoxid. Doctors and patients should be aware of the potential for liver problems, said study lead author Dr. Naga Chalasani, director of the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at Indiana University School of Medicine, in Indianapolis. Primus Pharmaceuticals Inc., maker of Limbrel, said the main ingredients of the pills are plant elements known as bioflavonoids, specifically baicalin and catechins. The company says Limbrel helps improve mobility and relieve joint discomfort and stiffness related to arthritis.
In the United States, medical foods are not subjected to the clinical trials required of prescription drugs.