Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: March 2023
Viberzi is the first drug of its kind – it targets the opioid receptors in the intestinal tract. These receptors are believed to play a role in the motility of the intestines and in the hypersensitivity to pain. Experts believe Viberzi helps the two symptoms of IBS-D by slowing the intestinal motility, or rate of movement, and decreasing the sensitivity to pain, which is experienced as abdominal pain.1
Before taking Viberzi, people should talk to their doctor about all medical conditions and all drugs they currently take, as some conditions may put the person at greater risk of side effects from Viberzi.1
Who should not take Viberzi
The following people should not take Viberzi:
- Those who have had a blockage in the gallbladder or a sphincter of Oddi problem (problems related to the muscle passageway located on the pancreatic duct)
- People without a gallbladder
- People who have or have had problems with alcohol abuse, alcohol addiction or who drink more than three alcoholic drinks a day
- People who have had inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) or other pancreas problems, including blockages
- People who have severe liver problems
- People who have had long-lasting or severe constipation, or problems caused by constipation
- Anyone who has or may have had a bowel blockage
People who are pregnant, who plan to become pregnant, or who are breastfeeding should talk to their doctor before taking Viberzi. It is not known if the drug may harm the baby.1,2
Possible side effects when taking Viberzi
The most common side effects people experience when taking Viberzi include constipation, nausea, and abdominal pain. People are advised to stop taking Viberzi if they experience constipation.
Rarely, people taking Viberzi have experienced muscle spasms in the sphincter of Oddi (in the pancreas) or pancreatitis, causing abdominal pain and elevated liver enzymes. In clinical trials, people who experienced these side effects experienced relief upon discontinuation of Viberzi, with symptoms typically improving the following day or within a week.1
These are not all the possible side effects of Viberzi. Talk to your doctor about what to expect or if you experience any changes that concern you during treatment with Viberzi.
Additional treatment options for IBS
IBS is a condition that presents differently in each person, and treatment must be tailored to the individual person. Many people find that they need a combination of approaches to manage their IBS symptoms. In addition to medicine, IBS treatment options include dietary changes, exercise, fiber, probiotics, stress management, counseling, and alternative and complementary treatments.