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Drug-induced pulmonary disease

Interstitial lung disease - drug induced

Drug-induced pulmonary disease is lung disease brought on by a bad reaction to a medicine. Pulmonary means related to the lungs.

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Respiratory system

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Causes

Many types of lung injury can result from medicines. It is usually impossible to predict who will develop lung disease from a medicine.

Types of lung problems or diseases that may be caused by medicines include:

Many medicines and substances are known to cause lung disease in some people. These include:

Symptoms

Symptoms may include any of the following:

Exams and Tests

The health care provider will perform a physical exam and listen to your chest and lungs with a stethoscope. Abnormal breath sounds may be heard.

Tests that may be done include:

Treatment

The first step is to stop the medicine that is causing the problem. Other treatments depend on your specific symptoms. For example, you may need oxygen until the drug-induced lung disease improves. Anti-inflammatory medicines called corticosteroids are most often used to quickly reverse the lung inflammation.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Acute episodes usually go away within 48 to 72 hours after the medicine has been stopped. Chronic symptoms may take longer to improve.

Some drug-induced lung diseases, such as pulmonary fibrosis, may never go away and can worsen, even after the medicine or substance is stopped and can lead to severe lung disease and death.

Possible Complications

Complications that may develop include:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if you develop symptoms of this disorder.

Prevention

Note any past reaction you have had to a medicine, so that you can avoid the medicine in the future. Wear a medical alert bracelet if you have known drug reactions. Stay away from street drugs.

Related Information

Allergic reactions
Interstitial lung disease
Pulmonary edema
Pleural effusion
Respiratory
Systemic lupus erythematosus
Chemotherapy
Cardiovascular
Interstitial lung disease - adults - discharge

References

Kurian ST, Walker CM, Chung JH. Drug-induced lung disease. In: Walker CM, Chung JH, eds. Muller's Imaging of the Chest. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 65.

Limper AH. Drug-induced pulmonary disease. In: Broaddus VC, Ernst JD, King TE, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 99.

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Review Date: 5/30/2021  

Reviewed By: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, MHS, Paul F. Harron, Jr. Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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