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Pharmacology - Public Health and Epidemiology - Respiratory Medicine

Adverse Events of Pirfenidone for the Treatment of Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials
Published: Tuesday, October 09, 2012
Author: Chunguo Jiang et al.

by Chunguo Jiang, Hui Huang, Jia Liu, Yanxun Wang, Zhiwei Lu, Zuojun Xu


Pirfenidone (PFD) is a novel antifibrotic agent approved for patients with pulmonary fibrosis. However, there are concerns regarding toxicity of the drug. In this meta-analysis, we analyzed the adverse events (AEs) of PFD for the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis.


We performed a systematic search of PubMed, Embase,, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials for trials published between January 1999 and October 2011. Data extracted from literature were analyzed with Review manager 5.0.24.


The results of six randomized controlled trials (1073 participants) revealed that the number of individuals who discontinued PFD therapy was significantly higher than patients receiving placebo. The PFD group had a significantly higher rate of gastrointestinal (nausea, dyspepsia, diarrhea, and anorexia), neurological (dizziness and fatigue), and dermatological (photosensitivity and rash) AEs compared to the placebo group.


PFD used for the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis is not so safe or well-tolerated. Notably, gastrointestinal, neurological and dermatological adverse effects were more common in patients receiving PFD therapy, and therefore appropriate precaution is needed.