Treatment

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

The treatment and management of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) is based on each person’s individual situation and medical history. Your respiratory specialist will generally see you several times a year to monitor your disease, symptoms and treatment. Talking to your doctor and asking questions and discussing what you prefer and your treatment goals, will help you decide what might be the right plan for you.

  • Current treatment options
    Medicines

    There are currently two anti-fibrotic medicines – Pirfenidone and Nintedanib – which have been shown to help slow the rate of disease progression. They are subsidised by the government and are available to patients that meet certain eligibility criteria. To see if you might be eligible for these medicines, please speak to your specialist.

    Oxygen therapy

    Oxygen therapy may be prescribed to assist with shortness of breath and to help you stay active. Some patients only use oxygen when they feel breathless (e.g. walking or exercising) but other patients need to use oxygen continuously during the day and night.

    Lung transplantation

    In some cases, complicated treatments like lung transplant surgery may need to be considered depending on other health conditions.

  • Other management options
    Pulmonary rehabilitation

    Pulmonary rehabilitation is an exercise and education program provided by specially trained health professionals that teaches you the skills needed to manage your breathlessness and to stay well and out of hospital. Find out more about pulmonary rehabilitation here.

    Staying active and healthy

    Quitting smoking, being physically active, eating well, getting plenty of rest, enjoying friends, family and hobbies, practicing relaxation techniques, joining a support group, and keeping a positive attitude are all things you can do to support managing your IPF.

    Ensuring your vaccinations are up-to-date

    This may include discussing seasonal influenza vaccinations and a 5-yearly pneumonia vaccine with your doctor in order to help support your immune system.

    Accessing emotional support

    Anxiety and depression is not uncommon in IPF and it is important that you talk to your doctor about this.