Managing Certain Esbriet side effects

Some people may experience side effects when taking Esbriet® (pirfenidone)

Whether you are starting a new medicine or have been taking it for a period of time, it is important to know about possible side effects and how to best manage them. Always work with your doctor to prevent or manage your treatment side effects.

To see the full list of side effects found in clinical studies, click here >

Managing and preventing certain side effects

Managing and preventing specific Esbriet side effects

Always take Esbriet with food

Taking Esbriet with or at the end of a meal may help reduce certain side effects, like nausea and dizziness.

Taking Esbriet with food decreases how quickly Esbriet is absorbed. It also decreases the drug level of Esbriet in the blood.

Every person’s definition of a meal may be different. In general, it’s important that the meal is nutritionally balanced.

If you are not sure you are eating appropriate meals with each dose of Esbriet, talk to your doctor. Your doctor may also recommend talking to a nutritionist about healthy diets for people with IPF.

To see some suggestions of meal options, download these easy recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner >

Possible serious side effects

Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these serious side effects:

  • Liver problems
    Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms you can’t explain, such as:
    • your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow
    • you have dark or brown (tea-colored) urine
    • you feel pain in the upper right side of your stomach area
    • you bleed or bruise more easily than normal
    • you feel tired

Your doctor will do blood tests to check how your liver is working during your treatment with Esbriet.

  • Sensitivity to sunlight and skin rash
    Esbriet can cause your skin to sunburn more easily. Avoid sun exposure when outdoors and don’t use sunlamps while taking Esbriet. Avoid taking Esbriet with other medicines that can make your skin sensitive to the sun
    • In clinical studies, the majority of these reactions happened in the first 6 months on treatment
  • Stomach problems
    Esbriet may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, indigestion, heartburn, and stomach pain. Tell your doctor right away if your stomach problems get worse or do not go away
    • In clinical studies, these were mostly experienced in the first 3 months of treatment, and decreased over time

If you experience side effects, talk with your doctor. He or she may need to reduce your dose of Esbriet or ask you to stop taking it for a short time to help manage side effects.

Side effects can occur at any time during treatment

In clinical studies of Esbriet, some side effects occurred soon after starting treatment, and/or decreased over time:

  • Sensitivity to sunlight: The majority of these reactions in clinical studies happened in the first 6 months on treatment. 9% of patients treated with Esbriet experienced sun sensitivity (vs 1% not taking Esbriet)
  • Stomach problems: These were most often experienced early in the course of treatment—mostly in the first 3 months—and decreased over time. 2.2% of patients had to stop taking Esbriet because of stomach problems (vs 1% not taking Esbriet)

These are not the only side effects. Be sure to talk to your doctor immediately if you experience any side effects.

Call an Esbriet nurse for more information: 844-693-7274


Hear people with IPF and their families talk about their experiences with Esbriet.


Sign up to receive ongoing support and information from the Esbriet® Inspiration Program™, including tips on managing possible side effects.