Pirfenidone for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

PLoS One. 2015 Aug 26;10(8):e0136160. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136160. eCollection 2015.


Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive disease with poor prognosis. In the last decades pirfenidone an anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic agent has shown benefit in inhibit collagen production and has also demonstrated benefit in decline progression in IPF in physiological outcomes as Forced vital capacity (FVC), in clinical outcomes such as progression free survival (PFS) and a benefit in mortality but no in clinically relevant outcomes as exacerbations or worsening of IPF.

Methods: We conducted a systematic review to evaluate the effectiveness of physiological and clinical outcomes of pirfenidone compared to placebo in IPF. We performed a search with no language restriction. Two researchers performed literature search, quality assessment, data extraction and analysis. And was performed a summary of findings table following the GRADE approach.

Results: We included 5 RCTs (Randomized controlled trials) in analysis. The meta-analysis resulted in a decrease in all cause-mortality (RR 0.52 IC 0.32-0.88) and IPF related mortality (RR 0.32 IC 0.14-0.75); other outcomes evaluated were worsening of IPF (RR 0.64 IC 0.50-0.83) and acute exacerbation (RR: 0.72 IC 0.30-1.66 respectively). Also there was a decrease in the risk of progression (RR of PFS: 0.82 IC 0.73–0.92) compared to placebo. Conclusions: We observed significant differences in physiologic and clinically relevant outcomes such as reduction in all-cause mortality, IPF related mortality, worsening of IPF and improvement of PFS. So pirfenidone treatment should be considered not only for its benefits in pulmonary function tests but also by its clinically relevant outcomes [corrected].

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / drug therapy*
  • Pyridones / therapeutic use*


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

Grants and funding

The authors have no support or funding to report.