Individuals with IPF develop scarring in the lungs, which leads to shortness of breath and an irreversible loss of lung function. The rate of deterioration is variable with many patients worsening over months to a few years. Currently, there is no FDA approved therapy for this disease, but recently published trials suggest that new treatments may be on the horizon.
Pirfenidone is an anti-fibrotic medication that is taken orally and has been shown to slow the loss of lung function and may improve mortality in IPF. Pirfenidone has already been approved for treatment of this disease in Japan, Canada, and most European countries.
Although Pirfenidone is not currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are indications that it will be in the near future. Recently, the FDA announced that Pirfenidone has been granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation. This designation is reserved for drugs that are intended to treat serious or life threatening disease where preliminary evidence indicates that the drug demonstrates substantial improvement over existing treatments.
Jamaica Hospital is one of only a handful of hospitals in the region, and the only one in Queens, offering this free treatment as part of an early expanded access program. Patients are monitored for safety in this program. It is open to most patients with mild to moderate IPF. This program is being coordinated by the Division of Pulmonary Medicine and the Department of Clinical Research at Jamaica Hospital.
For more information about the Pirfenidone expanded access program at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-5844 or 718-206-5800.