If you’ve been treated for irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D), you may have been given Viberzi to help treat the symptoms of the condition. This drug was approved for use by the Food & Drug Administration in May, 2015 for treatment of IBS-D in adults.
The drug works by decreasing the contractions of the bowel and therefore reduces the production of diarrhea. Viberzi influences the brain-gut signals that go through the endogenous opioid system. Viberzi has a similar effect on the system as an opioid. The result is decreased gut secretions and motility.
Allergan, Inc., the manufacturer or Viberzi, is being sued for not providing adequate warning to health practitioners and patients about the drug causing acute pancreatitis. The manufacturers of the drug have been accused of not providing patients and prescribing doctors warning that the drug could suddenly induce acute pancreatitis. Those patients who had their gallbladders removed prior to being prescribed Viberzi are at higher risk of developing the condition.
A Drug Safety Communication issued by the FDA in March, 2017 warned of the risks associated with taking Viberzi. It cited deaths and hospitalizations of patients who had taken the drug and had previously undergone gall bladder removal (chlolecystectomy).
120 reports of patients suffering acute pancreatitis as a result of taking Viberzi had been received by the FDA by the time of publishing the alert. 76 of the patients were hospitalized. 56 of these patients had previously undergone a chlolecystectomy. Two patients had died from the effects of Viberzi at the time. Both had had their gallbladders removed.
Viberzi Side Effects
Patients taking the following should also avoid taking Viberzi:
- Opioid medications
- SLCO1B1 inhibitors. These are used for treatment of high cholesterol, HIV, immune disorders and drug rejection (e.g. in transplant patients). They also include certain antibiotics.
- Also known as alosetron. This is used for IBS-D treatment in women
- A statin drug also known as rosuvastatin.
- Bismut subsalinylate. This includes Pepto-Bismol and other such OTC medications
Taking Viberzi in combination with any of the above medications can result in dangerous concentrations of the drugs in the body. The combination of Crestor and Viberzi increases the risk of developing rhabdomyolysis. This is a condition in which the muscle tissue breaks down. This results in protein being released into the blood stream and eventual damage of the kidneys.
Viberzi is also not recommended for patients with a history of:
- Pancreatic disease
- Liver disease
- Chronic constipation
- Gallbladder obstruction
- Consuming upward of three alcoholic beverages daily
- Digestive problems that were caused by Oddi muscle valve’s sphincter