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Generic name: pirfenidone [ pir-FEN-i-done ]
Brand name: Esbriet
Dosage forms: oral capsule (267 mg), oral tablet (267 mg; 534 mg; 801 mg)
Drug class: Miscellaneous uncategorized agents

Medically reviewed by on Aug 18, 2023. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is pirfenidone?

Pirfenidone is used in adults to treat a lung disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

Pirfenidone may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Pirfenidone side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling).

Seek medical treatment if you have a serious drug reaction that can affect many parts of your body. Symptoms may include skin rash, fever, swollen glands, muscle aches, severe weakness, unusual bruising, or yellowing of your skin or eyes.

Pirfenidone may cause serious side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have:

Common side effects of pirfenidone may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Use only as directed. Tell your doctor if you use other medicines or have other medical conditions or allergies.

Before taking this medicine

Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had:

It is not known if pirfenidone will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Ask a doctor if it is safe to breastfeed while using pirfenidone.

How should I take pirfenidone?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

You will need frequent blood tests to check your liver function and your next dose may be delayed based on the results.

Take pirfenidone with food at the same time each day.

Pirfenidone is usually taken 3 times per day. Your dose needs will change over the first 15 days of your treatment. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.

You should not take more than 3 doses per day.

If you stop using this medicine, do not start it again without your doctor's advice.

Store tightly closed at room temperature, away from moisture and heat.

Pirfenidone dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis:

Initial dose:
-Days 1 to 7: 267 mg (one capsule) orally three times a day
-Days 8 to 14: 534 mg (two capsules) orally three times a day
Maintenance/Maximum dose (Day 15 onward): 801 mg (three capsules) orally three times a day

-Take with food to reduce nausea and dizziness.
-Doses should be taken at the same time each day.

Use: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)

What happens if I miss a dose?

Use the medicine as soon as you remember, and then go back to your regular schedule. Do not use two doses at one time.

Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking pirfenidone?

Pirfenidone could make you sunburn more easily. Avoid sunlight, tanning beds and other medications that can make your skin sensitive to sunlight. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 50 or higher) when you are outdoors.

Avoid smoking while taking pirfenidone. Smoking could make pirfenidone less effective.

What other drugs will affect pirfenidone?

Sometimes it is not safe to use certain medicines at the same time. Some drugs can affect your blood levels of other drugs you use, which may increase side effects or make the medicines less effective.

Other drugs may affect pirfenidone, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use.

Popular FAQ

There has been one phase 4 trial that has investigated the combination of Ofev (nintedanib) and Esbriet (pirfenidone) for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) that showed a slightly increased risk of side effects with combination treatment, but the trial was not large enough to make a solid conclusion about increased/decreased effectiveness. Both Ofev and Esbriet slow IPF’s worsening but do not stop its progression, and neither medication is recommended over the other. Because they work on different aspects of the fibrotic cascade, there has been some suggestion that there may be some benefit in combining them. Continue reading

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.