What is the role of cytotoxic therapy 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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Immunosuppressive cytotoxic agents may be considered for patients who do not respond to steroids, experience adverse effects, or have contraindications to high-dose corticosteroid therapy. The failure of steroid therapy is defined as a fall in FVC or TLC by 10%, a worsened radiographic appearance, and a decreased gas exchange at rest or with exercise.

Azathioprine is less toxic than methotrexate or cyclophosphamide and may be preferred as a corticosteroid-sparing agent for disorders that are not life threatening. A response to therapy may not occur for 3-6 months.

Because of potentially serious toxicities, cyclophosphamide is reserved for fulminant or severe inflammatory disorders refractory to alternate therapy.

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