7 Common Questions About Esbriet

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by Wendy Henderson |

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Esbriet (pirfenidone) is an anti-fibrotic and anti-inflammatory drug used in the treatment of mild to moderate idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Manufactured by Genentech and given FDA approval in 2014, the drug reduces the amount of lung fibrosis by blocking secretions responsible for excessive collagen production. It also reduces inflammation in the lungs.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the drug from esbriet.com:

How will Esbriet help me?
Esbriet has been shown to prolong life for IPF patients by slowing down the progression of the disease. A one-year clinical trial found that Esbriet improved lung stability in 23 percent of patients, compared to 10 percent of patients not taking the drug.

MORE: Esbriet can prolong patients lives, several studies find.

How do I take Esbriet?
Esbriet now comes in tablet form and three tablets can be taken three times a day with meals. However, the dosage must be increased gradually to the three tablets, three times a day dosage over the course of three weeks. If you experience any side effects, your doctor may reduce your dose.

MORE: What you need to know about Esbriet

My IPF is stable, do I still need to take medication?
IPF is a progressive disease, although its progression is unpredictable. Treatment is advisable to help slow down the progression of the disease.

MORE: IPF patients treated with Esbriet live 2.5 times longer than those not treated.

What are the possible side effects of Esbriet?
There are some serious side effects associated with Esbriet including liver damage, sensitivity to UV rays, and stomach problems. Less serious side effects are experienced by around 10 percent of people which include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, stomach pain, loss of appetite, weight loss, diarrhea, indigestion, respiratory infections, GERD, sinusitis, joint pain, and sleeplessness.

MORE: These pulmonary fibrosis patients can benefit from Esbriet.

How can I manage side effects?
Side effects such as UV sensitivity can be managed by reducing your time in the sun and wearing high-factor sunscreen and long clothing. Taking Esbriet with meals may reduce some of the stomach issues associated with the drug. Your doctor may also advise you to stagger the tablets throughout the meal or take them afterward. If side effects persist, your doctor may reduce your dose.

MORE: First patient enrolled in a trial of Ofev for progressive fibrosing interstitial lung disease 

Why is it important to continue taking Esbriet?
You are more likely to preserve more of your lung function for a longer time if you continue taking the drug.

MORE: New knowledge about Ofev and Esbriet may lead to better lung fibrosis therapies.

Is Esbriet the right therapy for me?
This is a decision you will need to reach with your doctor.

MORE: Esbriet can treat IPF long-term regardless of the initial severity of the disease.

Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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