University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications


Pirfenidone: a novel agent for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Pharmacy

Publication Date


Document Type



Heterocyclic Compounds | Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry | Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences | Respiratory Tract Diseases


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the published clinical literature on the role of pirfenidone for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

DATA SOURCES: A systematic literature search was performed using the key words pirfenidone or Esbriet, alone and in combination, with IPF or idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (expanded using MESH terminology). MEDLINE (1948-September 2012) was the primary database used for search purposes. In addition, all available articles and abstracts referenced by the articles identified via literature search were included.

STUDY SELECTION AND DATA EXTRACTION: The search was limited to English-language publications. All available clinical trials of pirfenidone pertinent to its pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, efficacy, and safety were included.

DATA SYNTHESIS: Pirfenidone is the first agent specifically developed for the treatment of IPF. It has been approved for use in Europe and Japan, but not in the US. Although Phase 3 trials have shown pirfenidone to improve certain clinical (6-minute walk test) and functional (change in forced vital capacity) outcomes in patients with IPF, an independent benefit on either mortality or acute exacerbation rates has yet to be demonstrated. Until more definitive supportive data are available, international guidelines have recommended against using pirfenidone to treat most patients with IPF.

CONCLUSIONS: Although pirfenidone appears to be an effective treatment for IPF, additional clinical trials are needed to better delineate its risk-benefit profile.

DOI of Published Version



Ann Pharmacother. 2013 Mar;47(3):361-7. doi: 10.1345/aph.1R337. Epub 2013 Feb 12. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Annals of pharmacotherapy

PubMed ID