Comparison of Longevity in Patients with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Using Pirfenidone Versus Triple Therapy with Prednisolone, Azathioprine, and Acetylcysteine

Document Type : Original Article


1 Student Research Committee, Islamic Azad University, Mashhad Branch, Mashhad, Iran

2 Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

3 Department of Internal Medicine, Islamic Azad University of Mashhad Branch, Mashhad, Iran


Background: The effect of the combination of prednisolone, azathioprine, and acetylcysteine for the treatment of Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is minimal. We aimed to investigate the effect of these drugs in case of intolerance to new anti-fibrotic drugs.
Materials and Methods: This historical prospective study was performed on 91 patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis who were referred to a pulmonologist in Mashhad during 2016-2020. Patients were divided into two groups, Pirfenidone which was prescribed for 46 subjects, and a combination of prednisolone, azathioprine, and acetylcysteine which was prescribed for 45 subjects. Patients were selected by convenience sampling and a life expectancy comparison between the two groups was performed by Cox regression.
Results: There were no statistically significant differences between age, gender, and drug type in the two groups at the beginning of treatment. The death rate per year in the triple-drug treatment group was 44.44% (n = 20) and in the Pirfenidone treatment group was 11.08% (n=2). Of the 65 recovered population, 49% (22 patients) were in the triple-drug treatment group, and 78% (36 patients) were in the Pirfenidone treatment group which indicated that Pirfenidone has a significant impact on reducing death rate compared to triple-drug treatment (p-value=0.003 <0.05). Pirfenidone decreased the risk of death, compared to triple therapy (0.23 when death was set up as one in the triple-therapy group).
Conclusion: Pirfenidone has a favorable effect on increasing life expectancy and triple therapy should be considered as short-term only in subjects intolerant to anti-fibrotic.


Main Subjects