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What condition does Pirfenidone treat?

Pirfenidone is used for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). IPF causes the lungs to become stiff and get scarred. It also makes breathing hard. IPF is a long-term illness wherein fibrous scar tissue constantly forms in the lungs. As a result, it causes frequent lung infection, persistent cough, and severe shortness of breath. This medication helps slow down the worsening of your long-term illness.

Pirfenidone belongs to the class of drugs called pyridone. It is available for oral administration. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) already approved this medication.

How does Pirfenidone work?

Pirfenidone reduces the production of fibroblasts. It also lessens other substances involved in the formation of fibrous tissue during the body’s tissue repair process. Therefore, it slows down the progression of the disease in IPF patients.

What is the recommended dosage for Pirfenidone?

The dosage is based on your medical condition, response, and other medications that you are taking.

The dose of this drug is increased steadily, starting with;

  • 267 mg three times a day in the first week
  • 534 mg three times a day in the second week
  • 801 mg three times a day in the third week

This medicine is to be taken by mouth. Each dose may be taken with food or as directed by your doctor. Taking it with food may help decrease nausea and dizziness. To lessen the risk of side effects, your doctor may direct you to start at a low dose. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day. Inform your doctor if your condition gets worse.

What are the side effects of Pirfenidone?

  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Decreased or loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach upset or pain
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Heartburn
  • Insomnia
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Cold symptoms (runny/stuffy nose and sore throat)

What are the precautions in taking Pirfenidone?

  • Before taking this drug, let your doctor know if you have any allergies or if you are allergic to this drug. This may have inactive ingredients that might cause an allergic reaction.
  • Tell also your doctor if you have any medical history or current medications including vitamins, herbal products, or food supplements.
  • This may make you more sensitive to the sun. Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors.
  • Consult your doctor first before breastfeeding. This may also not be prescribed in pregnant women. This prescription medicine should only be used when needed.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or ever had kidney or liver disease.
  • Let your healthcare provider know if you use tobacco products. Cigarette smoking might lessen the effectiveness of this medicine. You should stop smoking before you start taking this medicine and avoid smoking during your treatment.
  • This medication may make you dizzy. Do not do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely.
  • Inform your doctor if you are also using antibiotic medicine, which could also make you more sensitive to sunlight.
  • Avoid smoking while taking this medicine. Smoking could make this medicine less effective.