Allergan teams with star paratriathlete in yet another effort to boost IBS-D med Viberzi

Allergan has joined forces with world champion paratriathlete, motivational speaker and IBS-D sufferer Amy Dixon to raise awareness around the malady and its treatment for it, Viberzi.

Allergan is going all out when it comes to raising awareness around IBS-D and its treatment for the malady, Viberzi.

Its latest push: The company has joined forces with world champion paratriathlete, motivational speaker and IBS-D sufferer Amy Dixon in an effort to spark and improve conversations about the disease between patients and their doctors.

According to new survey results, patients could use the help on that front: 65% of those afflicted with IBS-D experience GI symptoms for at least a year before speaking with a physician, and 46% wait at least three years. And Dixon counts herself among those who waited longer than they needed to.

"I experienced abdominal pain and diarrhea for years before I decided to go to the doctor," she said in a statement, noting that her role in the partnership was driven by "the desire to let people know that they don't have to go through life this way."

To help steer patients toward medical help, Allergan has set up, a website featuring Dixon’s story, a discussion guide for broaching the subject with a doctor, and resources detailing how to manage the disease’s symptoms.

Allergan, of course, is hoping some of those patients leave their doctors’ offices with prescriptions for Viberzi, its horse in the IBS-D race. It's competing against Xifaxan from Valeant, a product that won its FDA green light the same day Viberzi did last May.

And while it's tough to compare scripts between the two treatments—Xifaxan is taken as a two-week antibiotic course and is also approved to treat hepatic encephalopathy—on the revenue side, Valeant is miles ahead. Viberzi managed $30.9 million in the third quarter, putting it at $55.3 million for the year so far; Xifaxan, meanwhile, pulled in $273 in the third quarter alone.

Allergan’s got some other pushes in the works though that could also help beef up sales of the med. Last month, it announced it had inked a pact with population health management specialist SonarMD to develop tools meant to help doctors monitor and manage patients using the drug, and it also said it was bringing together a group of experts—dubbed IBS CounSEL—to provide support, education and leadership to doctors. And back in May, the company rolled out, an online resource for patients complete with info on identifying symptoms, managing the condition and speaking with a doctor about IBS-D.