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Medications for Interstitial Lung Disease

Interstitial lung disease refers to a group of lung problems that cause scarring of lung tissue. Medications can be prescribed to help control scarring and reduce inflammation. They can also help reduce symptoms. If you have problems with any of your medications, be sure to tell your doctor right away. Your doctor may be able to adjust your dosage. Or your doctor may have you try a new medication.

Senior man holding daily pill box with pills.

Take all medications as told by your doctor. Never stop taking medication or change dose on your own. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Common Medications

  • Prednisone. This is an anti-inflammatory steroid. Side effects include insomnia, weight gain, mood changes, and upset stomach. High blood pressure, bruising, and bone loss can also occur. Eye problems, such as glaucoma, can occur as well.

  • Azathioprine (Imuran). This is an anti-inflammatory. It may be used alone. Or it may be used with prednisone. Imuran helps reduce inflammation. But it can also decrease the number of blood cells in your body. For this reason, you may need blood tests as part of your treatment. Side effects include bruising, nausea, and vomiting.

  • Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan). This is an anti-inflammatory. Cytoxan may be used with prednisone. Or it may be given as a single dose if you have problems taking prednisone. Cytoxan helps reduce inflammation. But it can also decrease the number of blood cells in your body. Because of this, blood tests may be needed as part of your treatment. Bladder problems may occur as a side effect.

*This is not a complete list of available medications. It does not imply endorsement of any type or brand of medication. It also does not include all actions, adverse reactions, precautions, side effects, or interactions for these medications. Only your healthcare provider can prescribe these medications. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the possible side effects and drug or food interactions of any medications you use.

Tips for Taking Medications

  • Take your medication at the same time each day. Make it a habit.

  • Don’t run out of medication. Order more while you still have at least a week’s supply of pills left.

  • Take your medications with you when you travel.

  • Have a list of ALL your medications. This includes herbs and other supplements. This also includes over-the-counter medications. Show the list to your doctor or pharmacist. Some medications may interact with each other and cause side effects.

  • Get a pillbox marked with seven days of the week. Fill the pillbox at the start of each week.


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