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Posted April 25, 2024

Drug Found in Umary Supplement

On April 18, 2024, CTV News in Canada reported tests suggesting that Umary Hyaluronic Acid Dietary Supplement may be adulterated with the prescription anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac, which may explain side effects that have been reported with its use.

A woman in Vancouver who had been taking the supplement for pain relief experienced shortness of breath, chest tightness, leg rashes, and blisters on her lips. She sent the supplement to a company in Vancouver called Get Your Drugs Tested, which reported finding that the supplement contained 40% to 45% diclofenac, indicating the woman may have been taking 340 to 765 mg of diclofenac daily, which is about two to four times the typical maximum dosage of diclofenac (150 to 200 mg daily) (Alfaro, StatPearls [Internet] 2023).

See ConsumerLab’s Review of Joint Health Supplements for more information about hyaluronic acid and tests of related supplements.

Diclofenac is an anti-inflammatory drug that can cause heart attack, stroke, heart failure and death, especially among people with pre-existing susceptibility for heart disease. The drug should not be used by people with a history if stroke or heart attack, elderly individuals, people with kidney insufficiency, women who are pregnant, and those with a history of GI bleeds or ulcers. When applied to the skin, diclofenac can cause mild to moderate skin irritation (Alfaro, StatPearls [Internet] 2023).

According to the CTV News report, at least five Umary supplements have been tested by Get Your Drugs Tested and were found to contain 35% to 55% diclofenac, although the organization noted that “there are limitations to the testing” and “they can't say with 100 percent confidence a sample is in fact diclofenac.” A representative for Umary told CTV News that the company does not sell products in Canada and that “any product labelled under our brand in Canada is not related to our company, and we cannot guarantee its authenticity or quality,” although the company would not state whether its supplement contains diclofenac.

According to a member of ConsumerLab, “many people I know that are taking UMARY have been reporting bruising and bleeding issues with daily use of this supplement.”

Consumers and healthcare providers can report any adverse reactions to the FDA’s MedWatch Voluntary Reporting Program.

Update (5/14/24): Health Canada announced this product is being recalled after testing from the agency found the product to contain undeclared diclofenac and omeprazole. The recalled products have no Natural Product Number (NPN) on the product label and are not authorized for sale in Canada. Health Canada has advised consumers to contact a health care professional if they have used the product and have concerns.

Also see ConsumerLab’s article about supplements promoted to help with arthritis.

For more information, use the link below.

'It could be catastrophic': Woman says natural supplement contained hidden painkiller drug

See related recalls and warnings:

Pain Relief Tea Recalled, Found to Contain Prescription Drugs

Joint Pain Supplements Recalled Due to Undeclared Drug Ingredients

FDA Warns Consumers Not to Use Tapee Tea

Toxic Herb Found In Weight Supplements

FDA Warns Consumers of Supplement Containing Prescription Anti-Inflammatory Drug