Background: Following recent approval of pirfenidone and nintedanib for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), questions arise about the use of these antifibrotics in patients awaiting lung transplantation (LTx).
Methods: Safety and efficacy of antifibrotic drugs in IPF patients undergoing LTx were investigated in a single-centre retrospective cohort analysis.
Results: A total of nine patients, receiving antifibrotic therapy for 419 ± 315 days until subsequent LTx, were included. No major side effects were noted. Significant weight loss occurred during antifibrotic treatment (p = 0.0062). FVC tended to stabilize after 12 weeks of treatment in most patients. A moderate decline in FVC, TLC and DLCO was noted during the whole pretransplant time period of antifibrotic therapy. Functional exercise capacity and lung allocation score remained unchanged. No post-operative thoracic wound healing problems, nor severe early anastomotic airway complications were attributable to prior antifibrotic treatment. None of the patients developed chronic lung allograft dysfunction after a median follow-up of 19.8 (11.2-26.5) months; and post-transplant survival was 100% after 1 year and 80% after 2 years.
Conclusions: Antifibrotic drugs can probably be safely administered in IPF patients, possibly attenuating disease progression over time, while awaiting LTx.
Keywords: Antifibrotics; IPF; Lung transplantation; Nintedanib; Pirfenidone; Safety.