Currently there are two approved drugs in Canada for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), which is the most common form of pulmonary fibrosis. They included:
- Nintedanib (Ofev®), and pirfenidone (Esbriet®, Sandoz®).
These medications are called anti-fibrotic agents, meaning they are used to slow down the rate of fibrosis or scarring in the lungs.
There are a number of support programs available for those people whose treatment includes anti-fibrotic agents. The specific details of each program can be found at the following links:
Supplemental Oxygen Therapy
Supplemental oxygen therapy is a treatment option that can be prescribed by a health care provider. It is not a cure for pulmonary fibrosis and it will not take away your shortness of breath, however, will treat low blood oxygen levels that can occur when pulmonary fibrosis worsens. When pulmonary fibrosis worsens, the fibrosis (scarring) in the lungs allow less oxygen to enter the blood. Oxygen in the blood is needed for all organs, including your brain to repair and function.
For more information about supplemental oxygen therapy including common questions about supplemental oxygen visit our Lung Health Materials to download and read Oxygen in the IPF Handbook. To learn more about Saskatchewan's oxygen funding, visit our Lung Health Materials to download the Home Oxygen Brochure. For people who are covered under the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program visit the Government of Canada website.
There are certain types of pulmonary fibrosis (excluding IPF) that can be treated using steroids. Steroids are a type of medication that reduce inflammation (swelling).
Medications for Acid Reflux
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive condition that commonly occurs in people with IPF. There are different types of anti-acid medications that might be prescribed to help block the formation (or lessen) the amount of acid in the stomach.
Medications for Cough
A dry cough is also a common symptom of pulmonary fibrosis. Because what works for one person might not work for another, treating a dry cough can be trial and error. Medications for cough might include over the counter medication or prescription cough medication.