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Friday, March 7, 2014
Is there newer than cortisone?
Is there medicine for Pulmonary Fibrosis better than cortisone and chemical.
Currently, there are no FDA-approved treatments for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. The American Thoracic Society developed a set of treatment guidelines several years ago that stated prednisone (cortisone) and either cyclophosphamide or azathioprine are preferred conventional treatment. Recently, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine indicated that the combination of prednisone + azathioprine + N-acetylcysteine is better than prednisone + azathioprine alone. A study of gamma interferon in pulmonary fibrosis has recently completed enrolling patients, but the results of that study will take more than 2 years before we know if the gamma interferon works. Presently, there is a new study of pirfenidone in pulmonary fibrosis, and this study is actively enrolling patients at many academic medical centers around the world.
The bottom line is that there is no cure, but some treatments may be partly effective in some patients. You should ask your pulmonologist about drugs including prednisone, cyclophosphamide, azathioprine, N-acetylcysteine, and gamma interferon. Because no progress in the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis will be possible without clinical trials, I would also urge you to consider looking into trials at an academic medical center close to you.
James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University