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Pirfenidone to Treat Kidney Disease (Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis)

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00001959
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : January 19, 2000
Results First Posted : June 1, 2012
Last Update Posted : May 26, 2014
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Jeffrey Kopp, M.D., National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)

Brief Summary:

This study will examine the effectiveness of the drug pirfenidone in treating focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). Patients with this disease have kidney fibrosis (scarring) and proteinuria (excessive excretion of protein in the urine). About half of patients with FSGS eventually require kidney dialysis or transplant. Steroids, which are currently used to treat the disease, are effective in only a minority of patients. Other drugs, such as cyclosporin and cyclophosphamide, improve proteinuria in a very small percentage of patients and have serious side effects.

Patients with FSGS who wish to participate in this study will undergo pre-study evaluation with blood and urine tests. Patients must be on a stable dose of an ACE inhibitor (a drug that lowers blood pressure and reduces proteinuria) for at list 6 months before starting pirfenidone therapy. (Patients who are not already taking an ACE inhibitor will be started on the drug; those who cannot tolerate ACE inhibitors will be given a different drug.) Patients with elevated cholesterol will take a cholesterol-lowering drug. A diet containing approximately 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight per day will be recommended.

Patients will take pirfenidone by mouth 3 times a day for 12 months. Blood and urine will be tested once a month, either at NIH or by the patient's local kidney specialist. They will collect two 24-hour urine samples at the beginning of the treatment period, at 2-month intervals throughout the study, and at a 6-month follow-up. Patients will also be asked to give three to five tubes of blood and urine samples for analysis during the study.

In animal studies, pirfenidone improved kidney function and proteinuria and reduced kidney scarring in rats with a disease similar to FSGS. In human studies, pirfenidone improved breathing and survival in patients with lung fibrosis.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Fibrosis Focal Glomerulosclerosis Kidney Failure Nephrotic Syndrome Proteinuria Drug: Pirfenidone Phase 2

Detailed Description:
The objective of this pilot phase II trial is to evaluate the ability of pirfenidone, a novel anti-fibrotic agent, to reduce the proteinuria and slow the rate of progression of renal insufficiency in patients with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). We will enroll 25 patients with renal biopsy proven FSGS and evidence of impaired renal function (glomerular filtration rate, GFR, of 10-80 ml/min; after 1/02 must have GFR greater than 25 ml/min) as assessed by the 4 variable Modification of Diet in Renal Disease equation. As standard of care therapy, all patients will also receive angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI) therapy, and will receive an HMG Co-A reductase inhibitor drug if hypercholesterolemic. Preliminary evaluation will assure that the patients meet the study requirements, and an evaluation period will be used to ensure that patients are on maximal conservative therapy prior to the baseline period. Patients will receive treatment with pirfenidone daily, with dose adjusted for body weight and level of kidney function. The primary end point will be the decrease glomerular filtration as a marker of glomerular injury; reduction in proteinuria will be a secondary end-point. If the pilot study suggests this drug delays progression of renal insufficiency or reduces proteinuria in patients with FSGS, we will proceed with a large scale randomized, placebo-controlled study.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 21 participants
Allocation: N/A
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Pirfenidone in Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis:Phase II Study
Study Start Date : December 1999
Actual Primary Completion Date : October 2008
Actual Study Completion Date : October 2008

Intervention Details:
  • Drug: Pirfenidone
    During the study drug period of 12 months, patients will receive oral pirfenidone daily. For patients whose initial renal function is 50-80 ml/min as assessed by the MDRD equation, the initial pirfenidone dosage will be calculated at 40 mg/kg/d, with a maximum dose of 800 mg TID. For patients whose initial renal function is 30-50 ml/min, the initial dose will be 30 mg/kg/d. For patients whose initial renal function is between 15 and 30 ml/min, the initial dose will be 20 mg/kg/d.

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Decrease in GFR During Treatment Period [ Time Frame: 12 months from baseline ]

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Proteinuria After Treatment [ Time Frame: 12 months from baseline ]
  2. Proportion of Patients With Positive Change in GFR [ Time Frame: 12 months from baseline ]

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

    1. Adults greater than or equal to 18 years of age.
    2. Patients will provide informed consent.
    3. Biopsy proven FSGS.
    4. Glomerular filtration rate of at least 25 and no more than 80 ml/minute as assessed by the 4 variable Modification of diet in renal disease GFR equation.
    5. At least 6 months of renal function data must be available prior to the patient's receiving pirfenidone, and renal function must show a rate of decline of greater than or equal to 0.4 ml/min/month during this baseline period.
    6. Patients must have received no glucocorticoids, cyclophosphamide, mycophenolate or other immunosuppressive drugs for at least 2 months prior to the study period.
    7. Patients must have received no cyclosporin for at least 6 months prior to the study period.
    8. Patients must have been taking an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI) or angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) at a stable dose for at least 6 months, unless intolerant of both classes of medication.
    9. Patients who are HIV seropositive will receive standard care for HIV disease (patients receiving immune-modulating therapy will be excluded).
    10. Women with child-bearing potential must maintain an effective birth control regimen (oral contraceptive, intrauterine device, barrier plus spermicide).
    11. Men will be advised that although Ames testing has been negative for any evidence of mutagenicity, they should consider use of contraceptives during the study period as well.


  1. Inability to give informed consent or cooperate with study.
  2. Known intolerance to pirfenidone.
  3. Evidence of FSGS associated with an additional primary or secondary glomerular disease (e.g. diabetes, membranous nephropathy, IgA nephropathy).
  4. Recent (within 6 months) history of myocardial infarction.
  5. History of peptic ulcer within 6 months.
  6. History of cerebrovascular disease manifested by transient ischemic attack or cerebrovascular accident within 6 months.
  7. Pregnancy, breast feeding or inadequate birth control.
  8. History of photosensitivity dermatitis.
  9. Concurrent drug treatment with gemfibrozil, cyclosporin or erythromycin, potassium-sparing diuretics and other drugs which may potentiate hyperkalemia, or concurrent immunosuppresive medications.
  10. Requirement for NSAID therapy.
  11. Requirement for interleukin-2 therapy or other immune-modulating medication.
  12. Existence of any other condition which would complicate the implementation or interpretation of the study.
  13. Renal transplant.
  14. Evidence of significant hepatic disease, as indicated by serum transaminases greater than 3 times upper limit of normal, protime greater than 2 seconds prolonged.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00001959

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United States, Maryland
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Additional Information:
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Responsible Party: Jeffrey Kopp, M.D., Staff Clinician, National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) Identifier: NCT00001959    
Other Study ID Numbers: 000042
First Posted: January 19, 2000    Key Record Dates
Results First Posted: June 1, 2012
Last Update Posted: May 26, 2014
Last Verified: April 2012
Keywords provided by Jeffrey Kopp, M.D., National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):
Nephrotic Syndrome
Renal Failure
Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Renal Insufficiency
Nephrotic Syndrome
Glomerulosclerosis, Focal Segmental
Pathologic Processes
Kidney Diseases
Urologic Diseases
Urination Disorders
Urological Manifestations
Sensory System Agents
Peripheral Nervous System Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
Anti-Inflammatory Agents
Antirheumatic Agents
Antineoplastic Agents