A decision by the HSE to make a drug available to patients diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) has been welcomed by the Irish Lung Fibrosis Association (ILFA).
IPF is a rare, chronic disease that leads to the development of scar tissue (fibrosis) in the lungs. There is no known cause and the condition is terminal. Life expectancy from the time of diagnosis is usually between two and five years.
It is more commonly seen in men than women and usually affects people between the ages of 60 and 80, although it can occur in younger people too.
The drug, Nintedanib, is recommended for use in affected adults. It helps to slow down the progression of IPF by reducing the decline of lung function.
The HSE has decided to make this drug available to IPF patients from June 1, 2017, following a recommendation by the European Medicines Agency.
"This news is a very welcome development that will improve the treatment options for patients with this difficult condition," commented Prof Jim Egan, a consultant respiratory physician at the Mater Hospital in Dublin.
Meanwhile, the ILFA said that it was ‘delighted' that this drug will be made available to IPF patients within weeks.
"This news will be warmly welcomed by the IPF community and healthcare staff working in respiratory medicine, and will give hope to patients and families living with IPF," said ILFA director, Nicola Cassidy.
For more information on the ILFA, click here