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Generic Name: pirfenidone (pir FEN i done)
Brand Names: Esbriet
Esbriet (pirfenidone) is used to treat Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Includes Esbriet side effects, interactions and indications.
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Drug Information:
Esbriet (pirfenidone) is used to treat a lung disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). IPF causes scar tissue to form deep within your lungs. The scar tissue thickens and becomes stiff or thick over time, which can make it harder for your lungs to work. Decreased lung function can make it hard for you to breathe. Other medical problems can occur when your brain, heart, and other organs do not get enough oxygen. The cause of IPF is often unknown, but this condition is a progressive disease that can be fatal. Learn more

Esbriet Side Effects

Esbriet Side Effects

Note: This document contains side effect information about pirfenidone. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Esbriet.

In Summary

Common side effects of Esbriet include: abdominal distention, abdominal pain, diarrhea, dizziness, dyspepsia, fatigue, gastroesophageal reflux disease, nausea, skin rash, upper abdominal pain, vomiting, weight loss, and anorexia. Other side effects include: pruritus, skin photosensitivity, and decreased appetite. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to pirfenidone: oral capsule, oral tablet

Along with its needed effects, pirfenidone (the active ingredient contained in Esbriet) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking pirfenidone:

More common

  • Diarrhea
  • itching or skin rash
  • nausea
  • redness or other discoloration of the skin
  • severe sunburn
  • stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
  • vomiting

Incidence not known

  • Cough or hoarseness
  • fever with or without chills
  • general feeling of tiredness or weakness
  • large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • lower back or side pain
  • painful or difficult urination
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
  • unusual bleeding or bruising

Some side effects of pirfenidone may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  • Acid or sour stomach
  • body aches or pain
  • change in taste
  • dizziness
  • ear congestion
  • headache
  • heartburn or indigestion
  • increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight
  • joint or muscle pain
  • lack or loss of strength
  • loss of appetite
  • pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
  • sneezing
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • trouble sleeping
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • weight loss

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to pirfenidone: oral capsule, oral tablet


Common (1% to 10%): Increased ALT, increased AST, increased gamma glutamyl transferase

Postmarketing reports: Increased bilirubin in combination with increased ALT and AST


Very common (10% or more): Photosensitivity reaction (up to 12.2%)

Postmarketing reports: Angioedema


Very common (10% or more): Rash (up to 30%)

Common (1% to 10%): Pruritus, erythema, dry skin, erythemous/macular/pruritic rash, sunburn


Very common (10% or more): Nausea (up to 36%), diarrhea (up to 26%), abdominal pain/distension/discomfort (up to 24%), dyspepsia (up to 19%), vomiting (up to 13%), gastroesophageal reflux disease (up to 11%)

Common (1% to 10%): Gastritis, constipation, flatulence

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Headache (up to 22%), dizziness (up to 18%)

Common (1% to 10%): Somnolence, dysgeusia


Very common (10% or more): Fatigue (up to 26%)

Common (1% to 10%): Asthenia, non-cardiac chest pain


Very common (10% or more): Anorexia (up to 13%), decreased weight (up to 10%)

Common (1% to 10%): Decreased appetite


Common (1% to 10%): Hot flush


Common (1% to 10%): Urinary tract infection


Postmarketing reports: Agranulocytosis


Very common (10% or more): Arthralgia (up to 10%)

Common (1% to 10%): Myalgia


Very common (10% or more): Insomnia (up to 10%)


Very common (10% or more): Upper respiratory tract infection (up to 27%), sinusitis (up to 11%)

Common (1% to 10%): Cough

Editorial References and Review

Medically reviewed by BestRx Medical Team Last updated on 1/1/2020.

Source: Drugs.com Esbriet