Research Update: Results from the PAciFY study looking at IPF-cough

January 2024

Results published for the PAciFY study. Read further to find out more.

What is the PAciFY Study?  

The PAciFY Study was a Phase 3 clinical trial. The study looked at what the effect of a low dose of morphine may have on cough count and the quality of life of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). People who took part were given morphine and a placebo (a tablet that looks just like the morphine but contains no active ingredients) at different times during the study. Forty-three people took part in the 7 week study. This was a relatively short study, so the long term use cannot be spoken for.

Dr Zhe Wu, Clinical Fellow in Interstitial Lung Disease, provided us with an update of the results:

Cough affects approximately 85% of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and for some it can be particularly troublesome. The PAciFy Cough trial represents an important breakthrough and is one of the first treatments proven to be effective.
The results showed that treatment with low-dose slow-release morphine sulfate for two weeks led to a 39% reduction in the frequency of cough and improved patients’ quality of life when compared with placebo.
In addition, patients tolerated the treatment extremely well and only one-fifth of subjects developed mild constipation. The good news is that this treatment is already available to patients and is already widely used for other conditions. However, further studies are still needed to assess whether its use remains effective in the long term.

Moving forwards, low dose controlled release morphine could be an effective treatment option for cough in patients with IPF. The next steps for research towards this happening are studies that look at what happens over a longer period of time, to ensure that its long term use is safe and effective.

If you experience challenges associated with cough, please speak to your healthcare team to see if there are management strategies or treatments available to you. There are also ongoing cough research studies that are currently recruiting for participants, please speak to your healthcare team to express your interest or find out more using our online Study Finder.

If you would like to read more about the study results, please take a look at the Lancet journal article.

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