Treatment strategies for idiopathic interstitial pneumonias

Athol U Wells, Maria Kokosi, Konstantinos Karagiannis
Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine 2014, 20 (5): 442-8

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: With recent changes in diagnostic algorithms in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) guidelines and treatment advances in IPF, it is now necessary to reappraise the way in which clinicians should formulate treatment strategies in the idiopathic interstitial pneumonias.

RECENT FINDINGS: The idiopathic interstitial pneumonias can usefully be subdivided into the following categories: first, definite IPF, second, probable IPF with major differential diagnoses of fibrotic nonspecific interstitial pneumonia and chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis and third, apparently idiopathic interstitial pneumonias other than IPF. In definite IPF, the therapeutic landscape has irrevocably changed with the identification of robust treatment effects with pirfenidone and nintedanib, consisting of the prevention of approximately 50% of disease progression (as judged by serial forced vital capacity trends). In probable IPF, generally equating with high resolution computed tomography findings of 'possible usual interstitial pneumonia' and the nonperformance of a diagnostic surgical biopsy, management is based on multidisciplinary evaluation, integrating all available information, with a final 'working diagnosis' made for treatment purposes. In other idiopathic interstitial pneumonias and their major differentials, removal of potential triggers and immunomodulation remain the cornerstones of therapy, with treatment goals usefully designated using a disease behaviour classification. In mild disease, an initial policy of observation is often appropriate.

SUMMARY: The striking recent treatment effects reported in IPF will have major management implications in the idiopathic interstitial pneumonia in general, whenever IPF is in the differential diagnosis.

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