Talking to patients diagnosed with IPF
Toby Maher on initial discussions to have with patients when they are first diagnosed with IPF
At diagnosis, for patients with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), I tend to try to explain to them firstly, what the disease is, how I think it is caused in terms of repetitive injury occurring to the lung that then triggers scarring and then I’d like to discuss how I think we can best prevent that repetitive injury and how we can also try to prevent or at least slow the condition down.
I think an important part of the discussion is surrounding what we are trying to achieve with our treatment. In IPF, treatment aims are perhaps different to those in other diseases.
In other diseases we perhaps hope to reverse the disease or at least improve things. In IPF I try to make it clear that our treatment expectations are to prevent the disease from getting worse, so the best I can hope for my treatment is to arrest the condition and to stop things changing.
Following that, it’s really a discussion of the options that I think are available to patients with the condition and those include approaches to try to prevent injury to the lung, to try to prevent episodes of infection which may also injure the lungs, the use of antibiotics, anti-acid therapies, to prevent gastric acid reflux which may be one of the triggers for injury to the lung.