446474 tn?1446347682

FDA - AbbVie Treatment Warning

FDA Drug Safety Communication:
FDA warns of serious liver injury risk with AbbVie hepatitis C treatments Viekira Pak and Technivie

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that hepatitis C treatments Viekira Pak and Technivie can cause serious liver injury mostly in patients with underlying advanced liver disease. As a result, we are requiring the manufacturer to add new information about this safety risk to the drug labels.

Patients taking these medicines should contact their health care professional immediately if they develop fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, yellow eyes or skin, or light-colored stools, as these may be signs of liver injury.

Patients should NOT stop taking these medicines without first talking to their health care professionals. Stopping treatment early could result in drug resistance to other hepatitis C medicines.

Health care professionals should closely monitor for signs and symptoms of worsening liver disease, such as ascites, hepatic encephalopathy, variceal hemorrhage, and/or increases in direct bilirubin in the blood.

Our review of adverse events reported to the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) database and to the manufacturer of these medicines, AbbVie, identified cases of hepatic decompensation and liver failure in patients with underlying liver cirrhosis who were taking these medicines. Some of these events resulted in liver transplantation or death. These serious outcomes were reported mostly in patients taking Viekira Pak who had evidence of advanced cirrhosis even before starting treatment with it.

Since the approvals of Viekira Pak in December 2014 and Technivie in July 2015, at least 26 worldwide cases submitted to FAERS were considered to be possibly or probably related to Viekira Pak or Technivie. In most of the cases, liver injury occurred within 1 to 4 weeks of starting treatment.  Of the 26 assessable cases in which causality to components of Viekira Pak or Technivie was attributed to be possible or probable, 10 patients experienced hepatic failure resulting in transplantation or death, and 16 patients experienced various degrees of liver dysfunction. Some of the cases occurred in patients for whom these medicines were contraindicated or not recommended. FAERS includes only reports submitted to FDA, so there are likely additional cases about which we are unaware.

* FDA emphasizes that Viekira Pak and Technivie are contraindicated in moderate and severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh Class B & C cirrhosis).
* Technivie is not indicated for use in patients with cirrhosis.
* Some of the postmarketing cases of hepatic failure occurred in patients for whom Viekira Pak and Technivie are contraindicated or not recommended. Some cases provided insufficient data to definitively assess baseline liver status.

We are requiring AbbVie to include information about serious liver injury adverse events to the Contraindications, Warnings and Precautions, Postmarketing Experience, and Hepatic Impairment sections of the Viekira Pak and Technivie drug labels.

We urge health care professionals and patients to report side effects involving Viekira Pak or Technivie to the FDA MedWatch program, using the information in the “Contact FDA” box at the bottom of the page.

11 Responses
Sort by: Helpful Oldest Newest
Avatar universal
Oh no!!!!  I'm so sorry to read this.  Thank you for relaying this info Howie.   Am hoping that whatever issues have been determined that a resolution will be forthcoming.
Helpful - 0
317787 tn?1473358451
Hey there! Thanks so much for sharing this information.  I have to say I am shocked.  I thought this was supposed to be the easier one.  There is someone in another post who's platelets are dropping on Harvoni.
I will try to share with others.
Thank you so much!!
Helpful - 0
1689583 tn?1387752394
Dee I don't think harvoni has any serious issues it seems it is the abbvie drugs
Helpful - 0
766573 tn?1365166466
Wow is this a black box warning? This kind of reminds me of triple.
Many of us were so eager to treat that many of the effects and contraindications weren't fully realized until enough people treated and reported them.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
What a mess this could turn into be. And here they want to postpone treatment until your stage four.

Hope your doing well Hector.
Helpful - 0
1689583 tn?1387752394
I hope that for those who were turned down for Harvoni but approved for Abbvie they will now thinK twice about refusing people. Not good news.
Helpful - 0
446474 tn?1446347682
AbbVie is now required to add new safety information to the labeling of its two hepatitis C treatment therapies.

For Viekira Pak, it also includes a recommendation that doctors assess evidence of "hepatic decompensation prior to treatment and during treatment in cirrhotic patients".

Health care professionals who have initiated treatment with Viekira Pak or Technivie in patients with cirrhosis should discuss with the patients the risks of hepatic decompensation and hepatic failure and should closely monitor them.

Hepatic decompensation and hepatic failure, including liver transplantation or death, in patients with cirrhosis have been associated with the use of Viekira Pak and Technivie.

Viekira Pak is CONTRAINDICATED in patients with moderate and severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh Class B & C).

Technivie is NOT indicated for use in patients with cirrhosis, and should not be used in patients with moderate and severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh Class B & C).  

Hepatic laboratory testing should be performed at baseline, during the first 4 weeks of starting treatment, and as clinically indicated.  

If alanine aminotransferase (ALT),bilirubin, or both are elevated above baseline levels, repeat the test and monitor closely.  

Advise patients to contact you or another health care professional immediately if they experience signs and symptoms of hepatic injury or toxicity while taking Viekira Pak or Technivie, such as:
* Fatigue
* Weakness
* Lack of appetite
* Nausea and vomiting
* Jaundice or discolored feces

Monitor for increasing bilirubin values and for clinical signs and symptoms of hepatic decompensation such as ascites, hepatic encephalopathy, and variceal hemorrhage.

Viekira Pak and Technivie should be discontinued in the presence of
decompensated cirrhosis with or without increased levels of bilirubin and/or

Consider discontinuing Viekira Pak or Technivie if ALT levels remain
persistently greater than 10 times the upper limit of normal (ULN).

Discontinue Viekira Pak or Technivie if ALT elevation is accompanied by signs or symptoms of liver inflammation or increasing conjugated bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, or international normalized ration (INR)
Those patient with cirrhosis and signs of decompensation (ascites, hepatic encephalopathy, and variceal hemorrhage, etc) should have their hepatitis C treated by a liver transplant center where the doctors are familiar with managing cirrhosis and its complications and where the patient can be listed for liver transplantation should their liver disease further decompensate during treatment. This was common practice with Interferon based treatments where there was a known risk of decompensation or liver failure from these older treatments.

Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
my mom using viekirax (2 tablets every morning) and ribavirin (3 tables every week, 4 hours before dialysis) she has finished nearly 4 weeks but recently she has palpitation and pain in the chest.

all lab test is good, Hg, liver function

do you have any idea?
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
You will get more responses if you start a new topic for a question like this.

I am in a long term clinical trial for Viekira Pak. They took care to assess everyone for heart and liver function before starting treatment. Any serious problems in those areas excludes a person from starting Viekira Pak treatment. Can't judge your Mom's case, but anything that sems like it might be a heart issue should at least be properly checked.

Best to consult the doctor about chest pain and palpitations, or if it becomes more serious, don't wait, get her to a hospital ER. Might be fine, but but get her checked just in case.

Viekira Pak with Ribavirin is fairly tough, but nothing like as bad as the old Interferon treatments. It took me about 3-months to start getting my strength and energy back after stopping the treatment. I was very depressed and had a little psoriasis for a while, but it has all resolved naturally without medications. Don't worry too much, but do check any symptoms that come up.

Wishing the best for you mom.

Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
thank you,,

these people also have the same problem:
Helpful - 0
446474 tn?1446347682
This warning for Viekira Pak is for people with Advanced Cirrhosis (Child-Pugh Class B & C cirrhosis) ONLY. Meaning that they have complications and signs of Decompensated Cirrhosis.
Ascites, varices, hepatic encephalopathy, etc.

Technivie should not be used in anyone with with cirrhosis period.

The warning is NOT for people with lesser liver disease. Stages 0-3.

Helpful - 0
Have an Answer?

You are reading content posted in the Hepatitis C Community

Top Hepatitis Answerers
317787 tn?1473358451
683231 tn?1467323017
Auburn, WA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Answer a few simple questions about your Hep C treatment journey.

Those who qualify may receive up to $100 for their time.
Explore More In Our Hep C Learning Center
image description
Learn about this treatable virus.
image description
Getting tested for this viral infection.
image description
3 key steps to getting on treatment.
image description
4 steps to getting on therapy.
image description
What you need to know about Hep C drugs.
image description
How the drugs might affect you.
image description
These tips may up your chances of a cure.
Popular Resources
Herpes sores blister, then burst, scab and heal.
Herpes spreads by oral, vaginal and anal sex.
STIs are the most common cause of genital sores.
Condoms are the most effective way to prevent HIV and STDs.
PrEP is used by people with high risk to prevent HIV infection.
Can I get HIV from surfaces, like toilet seats?