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Hope for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Patients as Two Drugs Reported To Reduce Progression
- Updated: May 19, 2014
A study has observed that drugs made by Intermune Inc. and Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH slow down development of a lung disease without the patient requiring cure. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, for which the cause is unknown, can kill a person in five years after testing positive.
The two drugs irfenidone and nintedanib, do not reverse damage made by the disease, instead they slow down the disease’s ability to hamper breathing, New England Journal of Medicine has reported.
Two studies were done independently with each being funded by the company that developed the medicine. On May 16, Intermune announced that it would offer its drug to select US patients at no cost. Its decision may help it start sales of the drug in US. So far, none of the drugs has been approved for use in US.
Gary M. Hunninghake, a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston says that in contrast to many cancers, there isn’t enough evidence that any drug has the ability to alter progression of the disease. Even the little that is available is sometimes conflicting.
Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis has reported that 128,000 Americans have been diagnosed with the disease. Each year about 40,000 people die from the disease.
The disease causes some lung tissues to increase in size and become stiff. This limits the ability of the lungs to supply oxygen to the blood, reducing the amount that gets to the brain and other organs in our body. This disease mostly affects middle-aged and the old, this is according to National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
A drug made by InterMune Inc. was rejected by U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2010 who requested for more tests to prove the drug can work. In February, the company said it will file for clearance which will be based on findings from latest research.