Effect of food and antacids on the pharmacokinetics of pirfenidone in older healthy adults

Pulm Pharmacol Ther. 2009 Aug;22(4):279-85. doi: 10.1016/j.pupt.2009.03.003. Epub 2009 Mar 27.


Pirfenidone is a small, synthetic molecule under investigation for treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. In an open-label, single-dose crossover study, the pharmacokinetics (PK) of pirfenidone were investigated with or without food and antacids in healthy adult volunteers. Concentrations of pirfenidone and its metabolites in plasma and urine were determined by liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry, and candidate pharmacokinetic models were fit to plasma data using weighted, non-linear regression. The effect of food and antacids on pirfenidone exposure was evaluated by determining 'equivalence' using FDA guidelines. Adverse events were recorded by site personnel and classified by investigators on the basis of severity and relationship to study drug. Sixteen subjects yielded 64 pharmacokinetic profiles. The best fit was achieved using a five-compartment, linear model with an allowance for direct conversion to the primary metabolite (5-carboxy-pirfenidone). Coadministration with food decreased the rate and, to a lesser degree, the extent of pirfenidone absorption of absorption. Analysis of adverse events revealed a correlation between pirfenidone C(max) and the risk of gastrointestinal (GI) adverse events, suggesting that food may reduce the risk of certain adverse events associated with pirfenidone. Administration of pirfenidone with food has a modest effect on overall exposure but results in lower peak concentrations, which may improve tolerability.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antacids / pharmacokinetics*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacokinetics*
  • Area Under Curve
  • Biotransformation
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Interactions
  • Female
  • Food-Drug Interactions
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pyridones / adverse effects
  • Pyridones / pharmacokinetics*
  • Therapeutic Equivalency


  • Antacids
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Pyridones
  • pirfenidone