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. Some people may experience side effects when taking Esbriet. Here are some of the serious side effects experienced by people in clinical studies of Esbriet. Be sure to discuss any side effects and how to help manage them with your doctor.

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

Managing certain side effects

Learn more about taking Esbriet with food and see some meal suggestions here >

Some side effects may decrease

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.

Potential serious side effects

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

  • Liver problems 
    • 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
  • Stomach problems 
    Esbriet may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, indigestion, heartburn, and stomach pain

Common side effects

In clinical studies, side effects that occurred in 10% or more of people treated with Esbriet included:

  • Nausea
  • Rash
  • Stomach pain
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Indigestion
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased or loss of appetite
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Sinusitis
  • Sleeplessness
  • Weight loss
  • Joint pain
Tell your doctor immediately if you have any side effects while you are taking Esbriet. 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.
  • If you stop taking Esbriet for 14 or more days to help manage side effects
    • You will need to restart treatment with a low dose
    • Then slowly increase to the maximum dose
  • Your doctor may also ask you to permanently stop taking Esbriet
Call an Esbriet nurse for more information: 844-693-7274


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