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Diagnosed with IPF. On steroids and oxygen. Treatment for IPF?

May 2014
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Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 6502 Questions
Hello, I've been doing research to try to find some treatment help for my aunt who has IPF. She is 63. I saw that esbriet is approved in Canada but not here in the US. I'm wondering if a) it will get approved here and b) if it's something you have experience with and could tell me what she can expect if we can get her a prescription. And/or is there anything else you recommend? Thanks so much!
Posted Thu, 25 Jul 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail 2 hours later
Thanks for writing in.

From your query, I understand we are discussing medical methods in the treatment of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis in your aunt who's a 63 year old lady presently on oxygen and steroids.

Coming to your queries:

1. Esbriet, will it get approved in US:

Esbriet (chemically Pirfenidone) is a molecule with with combined anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antifibrotic effects. It is approved in many countries like Canada, European Union and Japan as you already know. As for the US, a clinical trial is underway following which the FDA would be in a position to approve it depending on health policies. It may however require a while.

2. If it's something you have experience with and could tell me what she can expect if we can get her a prescription. And/or is there anything else you recommend:

I do not have first hand experience but would be glad to share experiences by other doctors as documented in medical literature.
In a survey done in 2012, 42% of specialists in the European union chose Pirfenidone as first-line treatment for newly diagnosed IPF, representing a rapid increase from 11% of specialists responding to a similar survey in 2011. This assures that the new medication has been welcomed well in the medical fraternity.

Regarding recommendations, we do not prescribe any medication online as per our E health care policies, however a summary on available class of medications for the treatment of IPF are mentioned below for your reference.

1. Antioxidants: N -acetylcysteine along with steroid and immunomodulators (azathioprine) can slow down the lung deterioration. This does not work in all patients.
2. Tyrosine kinase inhibitor: Still in clinical trials stage.

There are few other molecules which have not been successful for recommendation in the treatment of IPF after initial trials.

Illnesses like IPF need to be treated under close supervision with regular follow ups with your doctor and providing the patient all assurance and positive will power.

Hope I have been able to answer most of your queries.
Wishing your aunt good health.

Dr Vivek
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