Aerosol Pirfenidone Pharmacokinetics after Inhaled Delivery in Sheep: a Viable Approach to Treating Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Lisa M. Kaminskas, Cornelia B. Landersdorfer, Robert J. Bischof, Nathania Leong, Jibriil Ibrahim, Andrew N. Davies, Stephen Pham, Steven Beck, A. Bruce Montgomery, Mark W. Surber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Inhaled delivery of pirfenidone to the lungs of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis holds promise to eliminate oral-observed side effects while enhancing efficacy. This study aimed to comprehensively describe the pulmonary pharmacokinetics of inhaled aerosol pirfenidone in healthy adult sheep. Methods: Pirfenidone concentrations were evaluated in plasma, lung-derived lymph and epithelial lining fluid (ELF) with data subjected to non-compartmental pharmacokinetic analysis. Results: Compartmental pharmacokinetic evaluation indicated that a 49 mg lung-deposited dose delivered an ELF Cmax of 62 ± 23 mg/L, and plasma Cmax of 3.1 ± 1.7 mg/L. Further analysis revealed that plasma pirfenidone reached Tmax faster and at higher concentrations than in lymph. These results suggested inhaled pirfenidone was cleared from the alveolar interstitium via blood faster than the drug could equilibrate between the lung interstitial fluid and lung lymphatics. However, the data also suggested that a ‘reservoir’ of pirfenidone feeds into lung lymph at later time points (after it has largely been cleared from plasma), prolonging lung lymphatic exposure. Conclusions: This study indicates inhaled pirfenidone efficiently deposits in ELF and is cleared from the lungs by initial absorption into plasma, followed by later equilibrium with lung interstitial and lymph fluid.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Number of pages11
JournalPharmaceutical Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • aerosol
  • compartmental modelling
  • idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
  • inhalation
  • lung lymph
  • pharmacokinetics
  • pirfenidone
  • sheep

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