Protect Medical Foods!

In the midst of an opioid epidemic that is killing nearly 100 people every day, the FDA has taken action against a medical food that offers patients an alternative to opioids.

Last November, the FDA posted a warning on its website concerning Limbrel, a medical food marketed by Primus Pharmaceuticals for the management of osteoarthritis. Then, in December, the agency recommended that Primus voluntarily recall Limbrel. The stated reason for the warning is that the FDA is investigating serious adverse events involving Limbrel, including drug-induced liver injury and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. In a letter to Primus, the FDA states that 194 adverse event reports for Limbrel were received between 2007 and 2017—about 20 a year.

Further, FDA asserts that Limbrel doesn’t meet the definition of a medical food. To those familiar with the FDA’s final guidance on medical foods, this should come as no surprise. As we’ve detailed previously, that guidance drastically limits the number of medical conditions that medical foods can claim to help manage. FDA’s examples are restricted to rare genetic conditions that affect a small fraction of people, and are not applicable to patients who have more common disorders, no matter how controllable the condition might be with medical foods.

Given that opioids, including legal drugs like morphine and fentayl, are killing 100 people a day, it is difficult to believe that the FDA is motivated by safety concerns in its actions against Limbrel, a product that could be substantially reducing that death toll. Sadly, it is more likely that the agency is sending a message to the medical foods industry because these products compete with the pharmaceutical drugs that fund the FDA.

Send a message to the FDA urging them to stop the attack on Limbrel, and medical foods in general.


  • Your Senators
  • Your Representative
  • Food and Drug Administration


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Please stop the attack on Limbrel and medical foods

Dear [Decision Maker],

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]
[Your Email]