Treatment & Care

Although there is no cure for pulmonary fibrosis, there are treatment options to help deal with symptoms and to slow the progress of the disease. Treatments for pulmonary fibrosis have advanced a great deal in the past decade and research continues today to improve our knowledge of the disease and to develop new and improved treatments.

Four Main Treatment Areas

Oxygen Therapy

As your disease progresses, your lungs become smaller and stiffer and the oxygen levels in your blood will gradually decrease. At some point you may need supplemental oxygen only when you are physically active. Eventually you may need additional oxygen all the time. Oxygen therapy enables your body to continue to function and to help you remain as fit and active as possible, maintaining your quality of life.

Woman receiving oxygen therapy
woman taking medication


Depending on the type of pulmonary fibrosis you have, there are medications available to treat most of them. Anti-fibrotic medications, approved by Health Canada in 2015, have been a game changer, reducing the progression of lung fibrosis by up to 50 per cent. Anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant medications may also be prescribed, depending on the cause of your pulmonary fibrosis.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Pulmonary rehabilitation is an important treatment for PF. It includes: exercise training; breathing exercises; ways to deal with stress, anxiety, and depression; nutritional counseling; education about your disease, and support from professionals and other patients with lung disease. The goal of pulmonary rehabilitation is to help you function without extreme breathlessness, and to allow you to safely exercise to improve your quality of life.

Woman working out on treadmill

Lung Transplantation

Currently a lung transplant is the only effective cure for pulmonary fibrosis. This involves a complex surgery to replace one or both of your damaged lungs with healthy lungs. At some stage, you may be considered for lung transplantation. A transplant team will assess if your lung failure is severe enough to need transplantation; that you will be able to safely tolerate the surgery; that you have family support; and that you understand the benefits and risks (infection, rejection, medication side effects, etc). Not everyone with PF will need a lung transplant. There are also many reasons you may NOT qualify for a lung transplant, or choose to decline this option for yourself. It is a serious and complicated decision you will make with your medical team.

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