What is the role of corticosteroids in the treatment of restrictive lung disease?

Updated: Sep 16, 2020
  • Author: Jonathan Robert Caronia, DO; Chief Editor: John J Oppenheimer, MD  more...
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Corticosteroids are a first-line therapy but are associated with myriad adverse effects. Corticosteroids, the most commonly used drugs, halt or slow the progression of pulmonary parenchymal fibrosis with variable success.

Questions about which patients should be treated, when therapy should be started, [57] and what constitutes the best therapy receive uncertain answers at present.

Although subjectively most patients with IPF feel better, an objective improvement occurs in 20-30% patients. A favorable response is a reduction in symptoms; the clearing of radiographs; and improvements in forced vital capacity (FVC), total lung capacity (TLC), and diffusion capacity of the lungs for carbon monoxide (DLCO). The optimal duration of therapy is not known, but treatment for 1-2 years is suggested.

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