Salix Pharmaceuticals joins forces with 'Scandal' actor Bellamy Young to remove the stigma around hepatic encephalopathy

Bausch Health’s gastrointestinal business Salix Pharmaceuticals wants to open the conversation on liver disease and is tapping award-winning actor Bellamy Young for her personal story about hepatic encephalopathy (HE).

This condition, while usually temporary, can cause serious problems for patients, most notably neurological (nervous system) disorders due to chronic, severe liver disease, which itself can come from a variety of causes including excessive alcohol consumption, hepatitis infections and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Bellamy Young, an actor, producer and singer best known for her role as Melody "Mellie" Grant in the ABC drama series "Scandal," knows all too well about the condition.

In an Instagram post tagged as "sponsored," she wrote: “I have to say that today is a hard day for me, as having these conversations can be for so many people. But it means the world to me to get to speak out about my dad’s battle with hepatic encephalopathy, or HE, which is brain disease caused by cirrhosis.

“When I was younger, my dad’s HE was something that we didn’t talk about, making that period very isolating for me and my mom. I want to help educate people diagnosed with HE and their families so they can move past the stigma and have important conversations with their doctors to learn more about the disease.”

She adds a “Thank you to Salix Pharma” for “partnering with me on this journey,” which also sees the specialty pharma create new educational resources Bellmay links to in her bio.

These include an interactive symptom tracker and discussion guides, all on a new Salix website, that patients and caregivers can use to start a conversation with their doctors and others in the hope of boosting diagnosis and treatment.

Salix, which markets Xifaxan for HE, launched a new branded ad campaign this year for the med called “I Wish I Knew,” which centers around Mark, an actual patient who after his 2016 liver disease diagnosis started exhibiting extreme personality changes that were later diagnosed as a form of HE.