The recent FDA approval of two drugs, pirfenidone and nintedanib, for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) has fueled interest in the development of additional drugs to treat the disease or its major clinical complications including cough and acute exacerbations. Since 2015, there are at least a dozen active interventional studies that are testing the efficacy of novel pharmacotherapies, exercise or stem cells in modifying the disease process in IPF. Additionally, there are combinatorial studies evaluating the effectiveness of pirfenidone or nintedanib in combination with other agents. However, there remains an urgent need for clinical trials to prospectively evaluate the efficacy of existing drugs with promising retrospective data, such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), in IPF. Several retrospective cohorts have provided tantalizing data supporting the beneficial effect of PPIs in patients with well-defined IPF. This review provides the general outlook of pharmacotherapies in IPF, and highlights preclinical and retrospective clinical data to make a case for randomized controlled clinical trials of PPIs in IPF.
Keywords: IPF; antacids; clinical trials; fibrosis; generic drugs; inflammation; proton pump inhibitors.