Treatment Brings New Hope for Patients Suffering From Fatal Lung Disease From Fatal Lung Disease

Food and Healthcare Press Releases Friday November 25, 2016 14:39
Bangkok--25 Nov--TQPR

Idopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) is a debilitating and fatal lung disease that currently affects approximately 3 million people worldwide with a median survival of 2-3 years after diagnosis (1)(2). It is a silent killer that many are not aware of. Today, there is a new treatment that slows disease progression by reducing the decline in lung function by 50% in a broad range of IPF patient types* and significantly reduced the risk of acute exacerbations by 47%.

A progressive and life-threatening lung disease (3), IPF causes permanent scarring of the lungs, difficulty breathing and decreases the amount of oxygen the lungs can supply to the major organs of the body.(4) Since scarring of the lung that has already occurred cannot be reverted, treatment options for IPF have been limited to a lung transplant until now, with the new treatment, patients currently have more options.(5) Globally,

Individuals with IPF may experience symptoms such as breathlessness during activity, a dry and persistent cough, chest discomfort and finger clubbing.(8) Diagnosing IPF can be difficult as it requires specific diagnostic testing, resulting in initial misdiagnosing occurring in half of patients because symptoms are similar to respiratory diseases like COPD, asthma, and congestive heart failure.(9)

IPF exacerbations – events of acute respiratory worsening – can also impact the course of the disease, often leading to death within a few months.(10) Approximately 5-10% of all IPF patients may experience an exacerbation over a year,(11) with all IPF patients at risk of exacerbations as they may occur at any time during the course of the disease without warning or known cause.(12) As such, there is a high unmet need for safe and effective treatments that can alter the course of IPF by slowing disease progression.

"IPF is rare and not easily understood, patients often struggle to comprehend the condition and are left distressed at their shortened lifespan upon diagnosis of this fatal disease. As the average time from first symptoms to diagnosis is between one to two years, it is important to visit a doctor as soon as they observe any symptoms," said Assistant Professor M.D., Kamon Kawkitinarong.

"Today, this situation changes as there is a new treatment launched in Thailand. A new drug can be taken orally and the clinical trial has shown to reduce the annual decline in lung function by approximately 50%, including patient with early disease. It also decreased the rate of acute exacerbations of IPF by almost 47%. There was also some benefit in improving the quality of life in patients", continued Assistant Professor M.D., Kamon.

Improvements in quality of life can be seen in two areas – symptoms and impact. Symptoms: Decreased frequency of cough, breathlessness and wheezing, and decreased sputum production (saliva and mucus coughed up from the respiratory tract). Impact: Decreased panic, stigmatisation, need for medication, and disturbances of daily life. [Note: These are the factors evaluated as part of the St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire. This questionnaire was used as a reference point to assess quality of life in the OFEV clinical trials.]

"It is important to seek medical attention early as there are many diseases which present the same way as IPF, such as asthma or a heart condition which can be treated", concluded Assistant Professor M.D., Kamon.

To diagnose IPF, certain tests such as blood analysis, chest radiographs, breathing tests (called a lung function tests or spirometry) as well as a specialized scan of the lungs called a high-resolution computerized tomography (HRCT) may need to be performed. Additional tests such as bronchoscopy and lung biopsy might be needed in certain situations.

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