IBS Drug Linked to Pancreatitis
The IBS drug Viberzi has been linked to serious medical conditions, including pancreatitis and digestive complications. Goza & Honnold is currently investigating cases involving Viberzi, and our experienced product liability lawyers offer free case consultations. If you developed an injury from the drug Viberzi for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, contact our firm today.
Viberzi and IBS-D
Viberzi is a mu-opioid receptor agonist indicated for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea in adults. It is manufactured by Allergan and also known by the generic name Eluxadoline.
Irritatable bowel syndrome is characterized by contractions in the large intestine and colon, causing gastrointestinal symptoms in patients, like bloating, stomach upset, abdominal cramping, and constipation. Patients with IBS-D also experience chronic diarrhea.
Viberzi is one treatment for IBS-D and is supposed to prevent the digestive contractions that lead to gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea. To accomplish this, the drug mimics the effects of a prescription opioid in a patient’s body. When opioid receptors are activated in the body, food moves more slowly through the digestive system, which is why some patients who take prescription opioids develop constipation. In patients with IBS-D, this slowing of digestion can help prevent abdominal cramping and bouts of diarrhea.
Viberzi Can Cause Serious Injuries
Allergan markets Viberzi as a safe and effective treatment of IBS-D, but the drug presents serious risks to patients. Patients who take Viberzi, even for a short period of time, can experience dangerous medical complications, including:
- Sphincter of Oddi spasm
- Nausea and vomiting
- Drug dependence
These conditions can occur in all patients, but patients who do not have gallbladders have a heightened risk of developing pancreatitis or sphincter of Oddi dysfunction. The sphincter of Oddi is an intestinal muscle that controls the movement of digestive juices. The gallbladder assists indigestion, so patients without gallbladders are more likely to experience the digestive complications that lead to pancreatitis and sphincter of Oddi spasms.
Pancreatitis Symptoms and Complications
Pancreatitis is characterized by inflammation of the pancreas, which usually can be attributed to irritation from digestive enzymes. Symptoms of pancreatitis include:
- Upper abdominal pain and tenderness
- Abdominal pain radiating to the back
- Abdominal or stomach pain after eating
- Rapid pulse or heartbeat
- Nausea and vomiting
- Unexplained weight loss
- Foul-smelling stool
- Oily stool
Some patients experience relief from pancreatitis by regimens of medications, fluid intake, and fasting. Many patients, however, require more invasive treatment, including surgery. Even with appropriate treatment, patients with pancreatitis can develop serious injuries, including:
- Pseudocysts (fluid/debris buildup in the pancreas)
- Kidney failure
- Breathing issues
- Pancreatic cancer
Pancreatitis is not a condition to take lightly. It is a serious illness that can cause lasting and life-threatening medical issues. Patients who have developed pancreatitis or intestinal spasm because of the drug Viberzi can pursue compensation from the drug manufacturer.
Viberzi FDA Warning
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a safety communication in March 2017 in which the agency said it had received 120 reports since May 2015 about pancreatitis or death associated with Viberzi. Many of the subject patients indicated they did not have gallbladders. In its communications, the FDA said 76 people reported hospitalization due to Viberzi side effects, and two people had died from supposed complications of Viberzi use. In addition, many patients reported experiencing spasms of the sphincter of Oddi.
It is important to note that the FDA said patients who did not have gallbladders could begin experiencing Viberzi side effects after only one or two doses. Strikingly, the FDA advised health care providers to not prescribe Viberzi to patients without gallbladders and also advised patients to immediately stop taking Viberzi and seek emergency care if they develop symptoms of pancreatitis.
These advisements from the FDA indicate the seriousness of Viberzi’s side effects. The FDA is cautious in its recommendations, opting usually for doctor-patient discussions. The outright advisements in the Viberzi safety communication are rare for the FDA.
Contact Goza & Honnold, LLC
If you developed a medical complication after taking the drug Viberzi, contact Goza & Honnold today. We offer free, no-obligation consultations and will quickly review your claims to help you understand your legal options. You can reach our office by calling (913) 451-3433 or by filling out our online contact form.