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Respir Med. 2004 Nov;98(11):1035-44.

Corticosteroid and immunomodulatory agents in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

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Section of Respiratory Diseases, Department of Oncology and Haematology, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.


Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive pulmonary disease leading to death within a few years of diagnosis despite medical therapy. On the basis of methodologies of the Cochrane collaboration, this overview discusses the evidence for IPF therapy. Good-quality studies on oral corticosteroids, the most common medical therapy in use for IPF, are lacking. A few small studies have been carried out on the efficacy of many non-steroid immunosuppressive agents, and the results have been generally disappointing. The most extensively studied medical therapy, gamma interferon, showed a significant effect in a small randomized study, but its efficacy was not confirmed in a larger randomized-controlled trial. The long-awaited good news for patients affected by this deadly disease, and for their physicians, could come in the near future from large randomized-controlled trials with gamma interferon or other immunomodulatory agents.

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