Philippine doctors warn against unregistered 'anti-gout capsules'

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A group of doctors from the Philippines has warned against consuming a purported capsule that social media posts claim treats gout by lowering uric acid levels in the body. Claims about the product called "UA-Block" have no medical basis, the group's president told AFP. The Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also repeatedly said the product is unregistered and "may pose injury to health".

AFP has previously debunked social media posts promoting unregistered products in the Philippines including here, here and here.

One post touting "UA-Block" was shared here on Facebook on November 9, 2022.

The post's caption claims: "UA-Block Uric Acid Block Anti Gout 24 Capsules. It lowers and controls the amount of uric acid in our body, that causes gouty arthritis."

It adds the supplement is a "good remedy" for inflammatory conditions, and that it enhances kidney function, improves blood circulation and strengthens bones.

The post shares a link to a vendor on online selling platform Lazada.

Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that causes pain in the joints. It is caused by an excess of a substance called uric acid in the body.

Diet and kidney issues are common factors that lead to gout.

The condition has no cure but can be effectively treated with medication or managed with diet and lifestyle changes, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Screenshot of the false post captured January 17, 2023

Other Facebook posts promoting "UA-Block" have been shared here and here, with comments suggesting some social media users believed the claim and wanted to purchase the product.

"How much is your product and how do I order?" one asked.

"How much is this?" another commented.

But claims about the product are false, a group of rheumatologists warned.

'Doubtful efficacy and safety'

"A search for evidence on the use of UA Block published in medical literature failed to yield any results," Dr Emmanuel Perez, president of the Philippine Rheumatology Association, told AFP on January 17, 2023.

"Without the rigour of formal studies, we doubt the claims on efficacy but, much more, its safety," he added.

The Philippine Rheumatology Association earlier warned against the product in 2016.

"This advisory was issued following observed serious complications that might have been caused by the product in some patients," the Tagalog-language statement says.

Unregistered product

The Philippine FDA has repeatedly issued warnings against the purchase and consumption of "UA-Block" in June 2015, March 2017 and December 2022.

The regulatory agency said it cannot guarantee the product's quality, safety and efficacy as it has not gone through the proper authorisation process.

"Consumption of such violative products may pose potential danger or injury to health," the agency said in its December 2022 warning.

Keyword searches on the Philippine FDA's database of registered drug and food products did not yield results for "UA-Block" as of January 18, 2023.