Causes of drug-induced pulmonary fibrosis
Drugs that can cause pulmonary fibrosis include:
- the antibiotic nitrofurantoin
- anti-cancer drugs such as bleomycin
- cardiac medications such as amiodarone and
- biological therapies used for treating cancer and autoimmune diseases.
If you have pulmonary fibrosis, it is advisable to avoid these medications.
Drug-induced pulmonary fibrosis can be an idiosyncratic reaction. This means it may occur quickly after starting the drugs and is not associated with the dose of treatment.
Symptoms of drug-induced pulmonary fibrosis
The symptoms include cough and breathlessness. In some cases, drug-induced lung disease can be associated with fevers, fatigue and joint pains. Find more about pulmonary fibrosis and its symptoms.
You will be advised to stop taking the drug to help to prevent further damage to the lungs. You may also be prescribed immunosuppressive therapies such as steroids to help to reduce the body’s immune response to the medication. Oxygen therapy may be required if your oxygen levels are low.
You’ll have regular appointments with your medical team to monitor your lung disease.
Outlook and prognosis
If drug-induced pulmonary fibrosis is diagnosed quickly and the drugs stopped, most people make a good recovery.
But if it is not identified early, drug-induced pulmonary fibrosis can progress and be fatal. The prognosis depends on the drug, the extent of pulmonary fibrosis and the overall health of the patient.
Other forms of pulmonary fibrosis
- COVID-19-related pulmonary fibrosis
- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis
- Idiopathic NSIP
- Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
- Rheumatoid arthritis-ILD
- Systemic sclerosis
Join a support group in your area
It’s important to remember that you are not alone. There are now over 75 pulmonary fibrosis support groups around the country.
Support groups meet informally to share experiences, provide expert information and raise funds and awareness. Find a group near you.
Call our support line
APF runs an email and telephone support line offering information and advice about living with PF. Find out more.
Find us on social media
Watch videos of how other people cope day to day with PF.