“I’ve experienced no change in my condition, no major deterioration since I started on Esbriet,” said Daniel Castner in an interview with The New York Times. Castner happily added that he’s been free from any treatment side effects, too.
Castner, of Napa, California, told Jane E. Brody, a columnist with the paper’s Science Times section that he learned from hard experience the importance of having unusual symptoms checked thoroughly and without delay. He was 63 when he was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a chronic and progressive fibrotic lung disease that significantly impairs a person’s ability to breathe, and — until the disease took hold — highly active. In fact, he told the Times that he was hiking at Lake Tahoe with his family in 2012 when he experienced his first IPF-related event: severe shortness of breath.
At the time, no effective IPF treatments were available in the United States, but in Europe, the drug Esbriet was widely used based on studies showing it could slow the loss of lung function and reduce disease-related deaths. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Esbriet as an IPF treatment in October 2014 after further positive clinical trial findings, along with a second drug, Ofev.
Castner had started on Esbriet two months earlier, though a special permit and at the requested of his doctors. But by 2014, he had lost 60 percent of his lung function and, he told The Times, he now wonders how much better he might feel had the treatment been given at diagnosis, when he only had 20 percent loss. But he’s grateful for how the drug has improved his life.
“When I was first diagnosed, I started thinking about the last things I’d get to see before I died,” he said in the interview. “Now I don’t think about death.”
Esbriet (pirfenidone), marketed by Roche through its subsidiary Genentech, is an anti-fibrotic drug thought to act by decreasing the production of collagen and growth and inflammatory factors, ultimately leading to a reduction in lung fibrosis.
Read the full New York Times article here: http://nyti.ms/1TXRw6Y
A previous Pulmonary Fibrosis News Today article on Castner is available here.