What Medications Can Cause Pulmonary Fibrosis?

by | Jun 23, 2018 | Blog, Lung Disease, Pulmonary Fibrosis

A type of interstitial lung disease, pulmonary fibrosis is chronic and can cause permanent scarring or inflammation of lung tissue. This can make it difficult to breathe, as the passageways that carry oxygen to the bloodstream begin to harden and thicken. It can also lead to fatigue and possible organ damage outside the lungs from hypoxia — low blood oxygen.
There are many different causes of pulmonary fibrosis, and one of them is medications.

What types of medications can cause pulmonary fibrosis?

There are a few different types of medication that could scar the lungs and cause pulmonary fibrosis. These include:

  • Chemotherapy drugs: Cancer treatment drugs may lead to pulmonary fibrosis. These include bleomycin, carmustine, methotrexate, and alkylating drugs like cyclophosphamide or busulfan. Carmustine may be the most likely of those to lead to pulmonary fibrosis, and is often used to treat lymphomas, myelomas or brain tumors.
  • Heart medications: An antiarrhythmic medication, amiodarone is used to treat certain types of serious irregular heartbeats. One study showed that 5 to 7 percent of patients on amiodarone later developed pulmonary fibrosis.
  • Immunosuppressant drugs: Taking certain immunosuppressant drugs be a risk factor for pulmonary fibrosis. These include azathioprine and cyclophosphamide. Azathioprine is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis; it’s also used as an anti-rejection drug in cases of kidney transplants. Cyclophosphamide is used with nephrotic syndrome, granulomatosis, and after organ transplants; it’s also a chemotherapy drug.
  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics like nitrofurantoin, used for urinary tract infections, and sulfa may also lead to pulmonary fibrosis over time.

Treating pulmonary fibrosis with cellular therapy

The lung scarring from pulmonary fibrosis is irreversible, but certain measures can treat the symptoms and severity of the condition. This may include medication, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation and lifestyle changes. Cellular therapy can be another option. The Lung Health Institute offers regenerative therapy using cells from within a patient’s body, harvesting them and reintroducing them to the lungs. There, they can help promote the growth of healthy lung tissue, reducing scarring and inflammation and improving airflow. For more information on the Lung Health Institute’s treatment options, contact a patient coordinator today at (866) 313-5712.

Speak with a Patient Coordinator Today

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