Comprehensive assessment of the long-term safety of pirfenidone in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

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Background and objective

Pirfenidone is an oral antifibrotic agent that is approved in several countries for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). We performed a comprehensive analysis of safety across four clinical trials evaluating pirfenidone in patients with IPF.


All patients receiving pirfenidone 2403 mg/day in the Phase 3 CAPACITY studies (Studies 004 and 006) and all patients receiving at least one dose of pirfenidone in one of two ongoing open-label studies in patients with IPF (Studies 002 and 012) were selected for inclusion. Safety outcomes were evaluated from baseline until 28 days after the last dose of study drug.


A total of 789 patients were included in the analysis. The median duration of exposure to pirfenidone was 2.6 years (range, 1 week–7.7 years), and the cumulative total exposure was 2059 person exposure years (PEY). Gastrointestinal and skin-related events were the most commonly reported adverse events; these were almost always mild to moderate in severity, and rarely led to treatment discontinuation. Elevations (>3× upper limit of normal) in alanine aminotransferase (ALT) or aspartate aminotransferase (AST) occurred in 21/789 (2.7%) patients; the adjusted incidence of AST/ALT elevations was 1.7 per 100 PEY.


This comprehensive analysis of safety in a large cohort of IPF patients receiving pirfenidone for a total of 2059 PEY demonstrates that long-term treatment with pirfenidone is safe and generally well tolerated.


Comprehensive analysis of safety outcomes in a large cohort of patients with IPF demonstrated that treatment with pirfenidone for up to 7.7 years (median, 2.6 years; range, 1 week–7.7 years) was safe and generally well tolerated.

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