Some of you may have read a recent press release from the investigators of the PANTHER Study in the USA. This announced that the treatment arms that included Prednisolone and Azathioprine had been stopped and patients had been taken off these treatments as they appeared to increase death rates and hospital admissions compared to the placebo treatments.
The PANTHER study was designed to test various combinations of treatment in patients with definite IPF. The four treatment groups that patients were randomly assigned to were
(1) Prednisolone and Azathioprine with N Acetyl Cysteine (NAC);
(2) Prednisolone and Azathioprine with placebo;
(3) N Acetyl Cysteine with placebo; or
(4) placebo and placebo (no active treatment).
As a result, patients left in the study are now on NAC or placebo alone.
We must emphasise that this is a press release only and the full details are not known.
We would not recommend patients to stop taking Prednisolone and Azathioprine without discussing this with their respiratory physician and making an informed decision. We will be discussing this with all our UCLH patients when they come to clinic over the next month.
The results of this study will be reported in early 2013.