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Recent evidence for pharmacological treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Jordan R Covvey, Erin E Mancl
Annals of Pharmacotherapy 2014, 48 (12): 1611-9
25202034

OBJECTIVE: To describe emerging evidence for the pharmacological treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

DATA SOURCES: A search of PubMed (1966 to July 2014) was performed using the terms idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and treatment.

STUDY SELECTION AND DATA EXTRACTION: Review of articles was restricted to articles in English and relating to placebo-controlled or comparative clinical trial data of recent significance. Evidence statements from the most recent international guidelines and some historical trial data were also included for context.

DATA SYNTHESIS: Numerous treatment options have been evaluated for IPF. Therapies evaluated in large trials have either resulted in increased mortality (anticoagulation, triple-therapy with N-acetylcysteine [NAC], azathioprine, and prednisone) or demonstrated a lack of efficacy (endothelin receptor antagonists, single-agent NAC). Pirfenidone, a novel antifibrotic and anti-inflammatory agent, has demonstrated efficacy in several recent analyses and is the only approved medication for the treatment of IPF in more than 30 countries outside of the United States, with resubmission to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently made. Nintedanib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, has demonstrated encouraging results in phase III studies and has also recently been submitted for FDA approval.

CONCLUSIONS: Limited options have existed for the treatment of IPF. New evidence suggests that safe and efficacious treatment options for IPF are on the horizon in the form of pirfenidone and nintedanib, although both agents await FDA decisions.

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