Find the medication that’s right for you
The medication that’s right for you will depend on the cause of the interstitial lung disease (ILD) you have, if there is a cause. Your doctor will look at all potential risks and benefits and recommend the medication that is best for you.
While medication can’t cure ILD, it can:
- Keep ILD from getting worse
- Prevent more scar tissue from forming in the lungs
- Improve your lung function and quality of life
Types of treatments
Medications for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)
There are two medications approved by the FDA to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Your doctor will need to perform blood tests to ensure that your liver is okay while you’re taking these medications. These medicines can help slow lung tissue scarring, which preserves your lung function:
- Nintedanib (Ofev®)
- Pirfenidone (Esbriet®)
Nintedanib may also lower your chances of having a serious and quick worsening of IPF (called IPF exacerbation).
Medications for Other Types of ILD
If you have ILD but not IPF, your medication options may be different and will depend on the type of ILD. Risk factors and other health conditions will also help your doctor decide what medication to prescribe.
These drugs can improve your symptoms and maintain your lung function and overall health:
This medicine is approved for patients with chronic fibrosing ILD with aprogressive phenotype. This means that regardless of the underlying condition that has caused fibrotic ILD, you may be eligible to benefit from this medication, just like patients with IPF.
Corticosteroids can help control inflammation of the lungs in certain types of ILD. This medication can lower your body’s immune response and reduce inflammation. Steroids help decrease inflammation, but they will not get rid of scar tissue. It is important to treat inflammation before scar tissue forms.
Because of side effects, you might use corticosteroids for only a short amount of time. If you need long-term treatment, your doctor will suggest a transition to a “steroid-sparing drug.”
Mycophenolate Mofetil (Cellcept)
CellCept lowers your immune system by targeting a type of blood cell called a lymphocyte. People who have an organ transplant often use CellCept. Some people with ILD may use it instead of corticosteroids because the side effects can be easier to manage.
Imuran lowers the immune system by suppressing protein, DNA, and RNA production in cells. People with autoimmune disease or those who’ve had an organ transplant often use this medication. Some people with ILD may also use it in place of corticosteroids.
Cytoxan lowers your immune system faster than other medication options. Cytoxan is typically used to treat cancer, but it may be used to treat ILD that is rapidly getting worse or that does not get better with the usual medications. Sometimes Cytoxan is prescribed when a patient is hospitalized with a complication from their ILD.
Other ILD Treatments
Medication isn’t the only treatment for ILD. Other treatments may include oxygen therapy and lung transplant.
“Living with Interstitial Lung Disease” patient education guide
This 52-page guide explores every facet of ILD that you may encounter, from diagnosis and treatment to support and myths. With the most up-to-date information available, this guide will help you and your loved ones feel confident when making decisions about your diagnosis.