Esbriet is a brand-name drug that’s prescribed for the lung condition idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). The medication is available in an oral capsule and oral tablet. Esbriet belongs to the pyridone drug class.
For information about the effectiveness of Esbriet, see the “Esbriet uses” section below.
Esbriet is a brand-name drug that contains the active drug pirfenidone. This active drug is also available as a generic medication. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication.
The generic is considered to be as safe and effective as the original drug. Generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.
If you’re interested in using the generic form of Esbriet, talk with your doctor. They can tell you whether it comes in forms and strengths that can be used for your condition.
The Esbriet dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:
- other medical conditions you may have
- certain medications you may take
- whether you have certain side effects
Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage. Then they’ll adjust it over time to reach the amount that’s right for you. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.
The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.
Drug forms and strengths
Esbriet comes in the following forms and strengths:
- oral capsules, which are available in one strength: 267 milligrams (mg)
- oral tablets, which are available in two strengths: 267 mg and 801 mg
Dosage for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
The dosage of Esbriet for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is increased gradually over 2 weeks, as follows:
- Days 1–7: 267 mg three times per day
- Days 8–14: 534 mg three times per day
- Day 15 and after: 801 mg three times per day
Your doctor may adjust your dosage depending on certain factors, such as whether you have kidney or liver problems. Talk with your doctor about the dosage that’s right for you.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of Esbriet, take your missed dose with food as soon as you remember. Then take your next dose at its usual time. Do not take two doses at once to make up for a missed dose or take more than three doses in a day. Doing so can increase your risk of side effects from Esbriet.
However, if you miss at least 14 days of Esbriet in a row, talk with your doctor. They’ll tell you how to safely continue Esbriet treatment.
To help make sure you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or putting a note where you’ll see it, such as on your bathroom mirror or bedside table. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.
Will I need to use this drug long term?
Esbriet is meant to be a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Esbriet is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term.
Esbriet can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Esbriet. These lists do not include all possible side effects.
For more information about the possible side effects of Esbriet, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to manage any side effects that may be concerning or bothersome.
Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Esbriet, you can do so through MedWatch.
Mild side effects
Below is a partial list of mild side effects of Esbriet. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or view Esbriet’s prescribing information.
Mild side effects of Esbriet can include:
- digestive problems, such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, or indigestion
- inflammation of the sinuses
- joint pain
- skin rash
- upper respiratory infection, such as the common cold
- unintentional weight loss
- mild allergic reaction*
Most of these side effects may go away within a few days to a couple of weeks. However, if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
* For more information about allergic reaction and Esbriet, see “Allergic reaction” below.
Serious side effects
Serious side effects from Esbriet can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.
Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:
- Increased levels of liver enzymes (a type of protein), which may be a sign of liver damage. Symptoms of liver damage can include:
- dark urine
- abdominal pain
- Skin sensitivity to ultraviolet (UV) light. Symptoms can include:
- skin rash
- Severe allergic reaction.*
* For details about allergic reaction and Esbriet, see “Allergic reaction” below.
Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:
A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. This may include severe skin reactions such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:
- swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
- swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
- trouble breathing
- blisters or peeling skin
Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Esbriet, as the reaction could become severe. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.
As with all medications, the cost of Esbriet can vary. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.
Keep in mind that you may be able to get a 90-day supply of Esbriet. If approved by your insurance company, getting a 90-day supply of the drug could reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company.
It’s important to note that you may have to get Esbriet at a specialty pharmacy. This type of pharmacy is authorized to carry specialty medications. These are drugs that may be expensive or require help from healthcare professionals to be used safely and effectively.
Before approving coverage for Esbriet, your insurance company may require you to get prior authorization. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the prior authorization request and decide if the drug will be covered.
If you’re not sure whether you’ll need to get prior authorization for Esbriet, contact your insurance company.
Financial and insurance assistance
If you need financial support to pay for Esbriet, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.
To learn more about saving money on prescriptions, check out this article.
Esbriet may be available through a mail-order pharmacy. Using this service may help lower the drug’s cost and allow you to get your medication without leaving home.
If recommended by your doctor, you may be able to receive a 90-day supply of Esbriet, so there’s less concern about running out of the medication. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company. Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order medications.
If you don’t have insurance, you can ask your doctor or pharmacist about online pharmacy options.
Esbriet is available in a generic form called pirfenidone. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. The generic is considered to be as safe and effective as the original drug. And generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs. To find out how the cost of pirfenidone compares with the cost of Esbriet, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
If your doctor has prescribed Esbriet and you’re interested in using pirfenidone instead, talk with your doctor. They may have a preference for one version or the other. You’ll also need to check your insurance plan, as it may only cover one or the other.
Other drugs are available that can treat your condition. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Esbriet, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.
Note: Some of the drugs listed here are used off-label to treat these specific conditions. Off-label drug use is when a drug that’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is prescribed for a purpose other than what it’s approved for.
Alternatives for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis include:
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Esbriet.
Is memory loss a side effect of Esbriet?
If you have questions about memory loss and Esbriet, talk with your doctor.
Will Esbriet cure idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis?
No, Esbriet will not cure idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). There’s currently no cure for this condition. However, Esbriet is used to slow down the worsening of IPF.
If you have questions about what to expect while taking Esbriet, talk with your doctor.
Does Esbriet cause long-term side effects?
It’s not likely. Most of Esbriet’s side effects are expected to be temporary. They’ll likely go away shortly after you start or stop taking the drug. However, the length of time Esbriet’s side effects last will vary from person to person.
If you have questions about long-term side effects with Esbriet, talk with your doctor.
There are no known interactions between Esbriet and alcohol.
In addition, consuming large amounts of alcohol can lead to liver damage. Esbriet may cause increased levels of liver enzymes (a type of protein), which may be a sign of liver damage. Your risk of liver damage with Esbriet may be higher if you drink large amounts of alcohol while taking the medication.
If you have questions about drinking alcohol while taking Esbriet, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Esbriet can interact with several other medications. However, it isn’t known to interact with supplements or foods.
Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase side effects or make them more severe. Drug-condition interactions can also cause certain effects. For information about these interactions, see the “Esbriet precautions” section below.
Esbriet and other medications
Below is a list of medications that can interact with Esbriet. This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with Esbriet.
Before taking Esbriet, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.
Taking Esbriet with certain medications can increase the risk of side effects from Esbriet. Examples of drugs that may increase this risk include:
- the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drug fluvoxamine (Luvox)
- the antibiotic drug ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
Taking Esbriet with other medications could make Esbriet less effective. Carbamazepine (Tegretol), an anticonvulsant, is an example of a drug that will likely lower Esbriet’s effectiveness.
If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Esbriet and herbs and supplements
There aren’t any herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with Esbriet. However, you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these products while taking Esbriet.
Esbriet and foods
There aren’t any foods that have been specifically reported to interact with Esbriet. If you have any questions about eating certain foods with Esbriet, talk with your doctor.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Esbriet to treat certain conditions.
Esbriet for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
Esbriet is FDA-approved to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in adults.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis explained
Symptoms of IPF can include:
Effectiveness for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
Esbriet has been found effective for treating IPF. The drug is included as a treatment option for IPF in guidelines from the American Thoracic Society and others.
Esbriet and children
Esbriet is not approved for use in children. It’s not known whether the drug is safe or effective for children.
This drug comes with several precautions. These are considered drug-condition interactions.
Before taking Esbriet, talk with your doctor about your health history. Esbriet may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:
- Liver problems. Before taking Esbriet, tell your doctor if you have a liver problem such as liver failure. Having a liver problem can cause the drug to build up in your body, raising your risk of side effects. Esbriet may also cause increased levels of liver enzymes (a type of protein), which can worsen your liver problem.
Your doctor may give you tests to check your liver before you start Esbriet and during treatment. They can recommend whether Esbriet is a safe treatment option. In some cases, your doctor may give you a lower dosage of Esbriet if you have a liver problem.
- Kidney problems. Before you take Esbriet, tell your doctor if you have a kidney problem such as kidney failure. Especially tell them if you’re receiving dialysis. It may not be safe to take the drug if you have kidney failure and are receiving dialysis. If you have a kidney problem, your doctor can recommend whether Esbriet is the right treatment option. They can also tell you whether a lower dosage of Esbriet may be needed for your condition.
- Smoking. Before starting treatment with Esbriet, tell your doctor if you smoke. Smoking can make Esbriet less effective for treating your condition. Smoking may also worsen symptoms of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which Esbriet is used to treat. For these reasons, your doctor will likely advise you to stop smoking while taking Esbriet. They can recommend ways to quit smoking. You can also review this article for tips.
- Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Esbriet or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Esbriet. Ask your doctor what other medications may be better options for you.
- Pregnancy. It isn’t known whether Esbriet is safe to take during pregnancy. For more information, see the “Esbriet and pregnancy” section below.
- Breastfeeding. It isn’t known whether Esbriet is safe to take while breastfeeding. For more information, see the “Esbriet and breastfeeding” section below.
Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Esbriet, see the “Esbriet side effects” section above.
You should take Esbriet according to the instructions your doctor gives you.
Esbriet comes as an oral capsule and an oral tablet. You’ll take each dose with food.
For more information about how to take Esbriet, visit the drug manufacturer’s website.
When to take
You’ll likely take Esbriet three times per day. You should take your doses about 8 hours apart at around the same time each day. Doing so helps keep a steady level of the drug in your body. This helps Esbriet work effectively.
To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or using a timer. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.
Accessible labels and containers
If your prescription label is hard to read, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Some pharmacies offer labels that have large print, braille, or a code you scan with a smartphone to convert text to speech. If your local pharmacy doesn’t have these options, your doctor or pharmacist may be able to direct you to one that does.
If you have trouble opening medication bottles, ask your pharmacist if they can put Esbriet in an easy-open container. They also may be able to recommend tools that can make it simpler to open lids.
Taking Esbriet with food
You’ll take each dose of Esbriet with food. The drug’s manufacturer advises taking one dose at breakfast, one at lunch, and one at dinner.
Can Esbriet be crushed, split, or chewed?
The manufacturer of Esbriet hasn’t stated whether the capsules or tablets can be crushed, split, or chewed. If you have questions about how to take Esbriet, talk with your doctor.
If you have trouble swallowing Esbriet capsules or tablets, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also review suggestions in this article.
How Esbriet works to treat IPF isn’t fully understood. The drug helps slow down the worsening of IPF. Taking Esbriet can help your lungs work better than they would if you weren’t taking the drug.
How long does it take to work?
Esbriet starts working right away to treat IPF. However, you may not notice the drug working. Esbriet helps slow down the worsening of your condition.
Your doctor may give you lung function tests to check whether the drug is working.
It’s not known for certain whether Esbriet is safe to take while pregnant. The drug’s use in pregnancy hasn’t been studied in clinical trials.
If you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy, tell your doctor before starting treatment with Esbriet. They can advise you on the risks and benefits of taking this drug during pregnancy.
It’s not known if Esbriet is safe to take during pregnancy. If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re taking Esbriet.
For more information about taking Esbriet during pregnancy, see the “Esbriet and pregnancy” section above.
It isn’t known whether Esbriet can pass into breast milk or cause side effects in a child who is breastfed.
If you’re breastfeeding or planning to do so, talk with your doctor. They can advise you on the risks and benefits of taking the drug during this time.
Do not use more Esbriet than your doctor recommends. For some drugs, doing so may lead to unwanted side effects or overdose.
What to do in case you take too much Esbriet
If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call America’s Poison Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. However, if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room right away.
When you get Esbriet from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the packaging. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.
The expiration date helps guarantee that the medication is effective during this time. The
How long a medication remains good to use can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.
Esbriet capsules and tablets should be stored at room temperature of about 77°F (25°C) in a tightly sealed container. You can temporarily store them between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C) for a short time, such as while traveling. Avoid storing this medication in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as bathrooms.
If you no longer need to take Esbriet and have leftover medication, it’s important to dispose of it safely. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident. It also helps keep the drug from harming the environment.
This article provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information about how to dispose of your medication.
Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.