Boehringer Ingelheim Launches ‘Why Wait in IPF?’ Campaign, Raising Awareness of Early Diagnosis

Boehringer Ingelheim Launches ‘Why Wait in IPF?’ Campaign, Raising Awareness of Early Diagnosis

On last week’s Rare Disease Day, held Feb. 28, Boehringer Ingelheim launched a new campaign titled “Why Wait in IPF?” to raise awareness about the importance of early diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and treatment with anti-fibrotic drugs.

Even though international guidelines recommend treatment with anti-fibrotic drugs to most IPF patients, a recent European study showed that around 40 percent of patients with a confirmed diagnosis do not receive this type of treatment.

Boehringer Ingelheim makes and markets Ofev (nintedanib), one of two landmark anti-fibrotic therapies approved for the treatment of IPF. Ofev was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2014 and by the European Medicines Agency in 2015.

The diagnosis of IPF can be difficult because patients often experience symptoms that are nonspecific to the condition and are often attributed to aging or conditions other than IPF.

The median time from the onset of symptoms to diagnosis is around two years, which is a considerable amount of time for patients to spend without receiving treatment for the disease. Damage from IPF is irreversible and, without proper medical intervention, the opportunity to slow disease progression is lost.

“Slowing disease progression and preserving lung function by reducing decline should be the primary goal for all physicians when treating individuals with IPF. For this reason, initiation of treatment at diagnosis is vital,” Toby Maher, a professor at Royal Brompton Hospital in the United Kingdom, said in a press release.

Approved anti-fibrotic drugs like Ofev or Esbriet (pirfenidone) – the second landmark therapy approved for IPF, sold by Genentech – can help slow disease progression and are recommended for most patients in a 2015 updated guideline on IPF treatment by the American Thoracic Society, the European Respiratory Society, the Japanese Respiratory Society, and the Latin American Thoracic Association.

These Clinical Practice Guidelines were designed to help clinicians interpret the recommendations made in the context of individual patient values and preferences, and to make appropriate clinical decisions about IPF treatment.

The guidelines can also help patients feel empowered to take an active role in their disease management by supporting discussions of possible treatment approaches with their physician.

To empower patients is one of Boehringer Ingelheim’s goals. The company offers several resources for the IPF community, including inIPF for physicians and Life with IPF for patients.

5 comments

  1. K Hadley says:

    It is important for sufferers to be informed of the accessibility of pirfenedone at relatively reasonable prices in India

  2. Colin Mortlock says:

    Two years from onset to diagnosis is a sad situation. Several months of that period no doubt is taken up with the time taken to carry out the several tests, often involving a number of departments, before IPF is confirmed. My experience is that referral to specialist units permitted to prescribe the appropriate medication then adds to the timescale before treatment can take place. For persons/patients who are involved in this procedure time is surely of the essence and every effort should be made to reduce it by fast tracking procedures as-well as research.

  3. Ann Bennett says:

    Sadly here in UK there are still restrictions as to who is eligible for the anti-fibrotic drugs, so many peopke are denied them under NICE.

    • Ruth Master says:

      Here in Canada there are also restrictions on who can have these drugs. I have interstitial pulmonary fibrosis caused by rheumatoid arthritis and there am therefore not eligible

  4. Linda Williams says:

    I am wondering if any one on OFEV wishes they had never started it? My pulmonologist plans to start me on it this month. My O2 SATs are in 90’s on room air. I cough some now, especially morning and evening but nothing like in January and February.

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