PUBLIC COMMUNICATION - Health Canada Endorsed Important Safety Information on (Pr)VOLIBRIS®

TORONTO, July 12, 2012 /CNW/ -

Subject:  Contraindication regarding the use of VOLIBRIS® (ambrisentan) in patients with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)

GlaxoSmithKline Inc., in consultation with Health Canada, would like to inform you of new safety information regarding the use of VOLIBRIS® in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) [idiopathic means arising without a known cause].  Higher rates of disease progression or deaths were observed during a prematurely discontinued clinical trial in IPF patients treated with VOLIBRIS®.

  • A clinical study in patients with IPF was prematurely discontinued as a result of a lack of benefit shown in IPF patients taking VOLIBRIS when compared to placebo. Evaluation of the data revealed higher rates of disease progression (including decreases in respiratory function, respiratory hospitalizations) or deaths in patients on VOLIBRIS® when compared to placebo.
  • If you have been diagnosed with IPF and you are currently taking VOLIBRIS®, please speak with your doctor immediately.
  • VOLIBRIS® is not approved for use in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and is now contraindicated; as such, if you have IPF, with or without pulmonary hypertension, you should not take VOLIBRIS®.

VOLIBRIS® (ambrisentan) is a prescription drug approved for use to treat idiopathic ('primary') pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) and pulmonary arterial hypertension associated with connective tissue disease (PAH-CTD), which is high blood pressure in the blood vessels between the heart and the lungs.

VOLIBRIS® is not approved for use in patients with IPF; nonetheless, the Product Monograph for VOLIBRIS® has been updated with important information for patients, described below and found at

          When it should not be used:
Do not take VOLIBRIS® if:
  • You have a lung condition called Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) that makes it hard to breathe, along with a dry cough, and sometimes, joint pain or swelling.

GlaxoSmithKline has sent a letter to healthcare professionals informing them of this new safety information.  This information may be obtained on the Canadian website of GlaxoSmithKline ( or on the Health Canada Web site.  If you have questions regarding your VOLIBRIS® prescription, please contact your doctor.

Managing marketed health product-related adverse reactions depends on health care professionals and consumers reporting them. Reporting rates determined on the basis of spontaneously reported post-marketing adverse reactions are generally presumed to underestimate the risks associated with health product treatments. Serious or unexpected adverse reactions in patients receiving VOLIBRIS® should be reported to GlaxoSmithKline or Health Canada.

GlaxoSmithKline Inc.
7333 Mississauga Road
Mississauga, Ontario
L5N 6L4
Tel: 1-800-387-7374

You can report any suspected adverse reactions associated with the use of health products to the Canada Vigilance Program by one of the following 3 ways:
  • Report online at
  • Call toll-free at 1-866-234-2345
  • Complete a Reporting Form and:
    • Fax toll-free to 1-866-678-6789, or
    • Mail to: Canada Vigilance Program
                   Health Canada
                   Postal Locator 0701E
                   Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9

The Reporting Forms, postage paid labels, and Guidelines can be found on the MedEffectTM Canada Web site in the Adverse Reaction Reporting section The Reporting Form is also in the Canadian Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties.

For other health product inquiries related to this communication, please contact Health Canada at:
Marketed Health Products Directorate
Telephone: 1-613-954-6522
Fax:  1-613-952-7738

To change your mailing address or fax number, contact the Market Authorization Holder (GlaxoSmithKline Inc.).


original signed by

Dr. Glenn Crater,
Vice-President, Medical and Chief Medical Officer
GlaxoSmithKline Inc.

1. G. Raghu et al. ARTEMIS-IPF: A Placebo-Controlled Trial Of Ambrisentan In Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2012;185:A3632.

VOLIBRIS® is a registered trademark, used under license by GlaxoSmithKline Inc.



For further information:

For media inquiries, please contact GlaxoSmithKline Communications at (905) 819-3363.

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