The efficacy and mechanism evaluation of treating idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis with the addition of co-trimoxazole (EME-TIPAC): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial

Matthew Hammond (Lead Author), Allan B. Clark, Anthony P. Cahn, Edwin R. Chilvers, William Duncan Fraser, David M. Livermore, Toby M. Maher, Helen Parfrey, Ann Marie Swart, Susan Stirling, David Thickett, Moira Whyte, Andrew Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


Background: We hypothesise, based upon the findings from our previous trial, that the addition of co-trimoxazole to standard therapy is beneficial to patients with moderate to severe idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). We aim to investigate this by assessing unplanned hospitalisation-free survival (defined as time from randomisation to first non-elective hospitalisation, lung transplant or death) and to determine whether any effect relates to changes in infection and/or markers of disease control and neutrophil activity. Methods/design: The EME-TIPAC trial is a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised, multicentre clinical trial. A total of 330 symptomatic patients, aged 40 years old or older, with IPF diagnosed by a multidisciplinary team (MDT) according to international guidelines and a FVC ≤ 75% predicted will be enrolled. Patients are randomised equally to receive either two tablets of co-trimoxazole 480 mg or two placebo tablets twice daily over a median treatment period of 27 (range 12–42) months. All patients receive folic acid 5 mg daily whilst on the trial IMP to reduce the risk of bone marrow depression. The primary outcome for the trial is a composite endpoint consisting of the time to death, transplant or first nonelective hospital admission and will be determined from adverse event reporting, hospital databases and the Office of National Statistics with active tracing of patients missing appointments. Secondary outcomes include the individual components of the primary outcome, (1) King’s Brief Interstitial Lung Disease Questionnaire, (2) MRC Dyspnoea Score, (3) EQ5D, (4) spirometry, (5) total lung-diffusing capacity and (6) routine sputum microbiology. Blood will be taken for cell count, biochemistry and analysis of biomarkers including C-reactive protein and markers of disease. The trial will last for 4 years. Recruitment will take place in a network of approximately 40 sites throughout the UK (see Table 1 for a full list of participating sites). We expect recruitment for 30 months, follow-up for 12 months and trial analysis and reporting to take 4 months.
Discussion: The trial is designed to test the hypothesis that treating IPF patients with co-trimoxazole will increase the time to death (all causes), lung transplant or first non-elective hospital admission compared to standard care (, in patients with moderate to severe disease. The mechanistic aims are to investigate the effect on lung microbiota and other measures of infection, markers of epithelial injury and markers of neutrophil activity.
Trial registration: International Standard Randomised Controlled Trials Number (ISRCTN) Registry, ID: 17464641. Registered on 29 January 2015.
Keywords: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, Co-trimoxazole, Forced vital capacity, Mortality
Original languageEnglish
Article number89
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2018


  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
  • Co-trimoxazole
  • Forced vital capacity
  • mortality

Cite this