Receiving a diagnosis from a doctor is considered a double-edged sword by a lot of people. While most people are relieved to know what is ailing them, hearing that you have an incurable and potentially fatal condition can be downright disheartening. Such is the case for people living with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
For those who have never heard of this condition, it's a disease that causes scarring to occur over time in a person's lungs. The scar tissue causes the lungs to thicken and become stiff, impacting the lung's ability to transfer oxygen to the bloodstream.
The lack of oxygen in the bloodstream disrupts function in the brain and other organs. Patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis also experience shortness of breath and a dry, hacking cough that doesn't get better. The life expectancy after diagnosis is typically three to five years, which is one of the reasons idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis can be found on the list of Compassionate Allowances.
Though a diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis may seem grim now, a new FDA approved drug could change all of that in a few short years. The drug, called OFEV, targets the growth-factor receptors within the body that cause this disabling condition to deteriorate the lungs so quickly.
At present time, there are no other treatments for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis except OFEV, which is the only drug to have been approved by the FDA to treat the disease.
Reports indicate, however, that although OFEV does reduce the risk of a patient suffering acute respiratory worsening, the drug should not be considered an absolute cure. This means that patients receiving the drug as a treatment may still want to continue receiving disability benefits as well.
Source: PharmTech, "FDA Approves OFEV for the Treatment of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis," Ashley Roberts, Oct. 17, 2014