The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug treatments for a deadly disease that causes severe lung damage.
The agency on Wednesday approved two novel treatments from Boehringer Ingelheim and Roche for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Patients with the disease experience lung damage over time that makes it difficult to breathe properly. Currently the disease is treated with oxygen therapy, rehabilitation and lung transplants.
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Boehringer's Ofev and Roche's Esbriet both work by blocking mechanisms thought to cause lung scarring.
Pulmonary fibrosis can have multiple causes, including exposure to toxins and pollutants. The drugs approved Wednesday are for forms of the disease in which the cause is unknown. Many patients live less than five years after being diagnosed.