Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: physician’s perceptions of patient treatment with recently approved drugs

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a rare, chronic and ultimately fatal disease for which only palliative treatments existed until recently. Between 2011 and 2015, two new drugs, pirfenidone and nintedanib, were approved in the US and Europe for the treatment of IPF, providing hope for patients. The objectives of our work were to understand physicians’ expected use of these new treatments in the US and Europe, and to estimate their potential. To achieve this goal, we conducted surveys amongst US and European Union (EU) pulmonologists caring for patients with IPF. There was a significant difference between EU and US physicians in the treatment of patients with mild disease with pirfenidone; the EU physicians anticipated using pirfenidone for 57% of their patients with mild disease, whereas the US pulmonologists anticipated using it for 34% of their patients (p = 0.01). Regarding patients with severe disease, the US pulmonologists anticipated treating 74% with either pirfenidone (46%) or nintedanib (28%), whereas the EU pulmonologists treated 28% with pirfenidone and anticipated treating 20% with nintedanib. These findings suggest treatment with pirfenidone and nintedanib based on disease severity may vary between US and EU physicians, which may affect patient outcomes.