There are numerous lung diseases that are caused by an adverse reaction to a medication. There are also numerous drugs and medications, including certain antibiotics, cardiovascular drugs, chemotherapy agents, and illicit drugs, among others, that are known to cause lung disease in some people. It is very difficult, or in many cases not even yet possible, however, to predict who or what kind of lung disease will develop from taking a drug.
Lung diseases that can develop from taking drugs or medications include:
Among the more common clinical manifestations of drug-induced lung disease are noncardiogenic pulmonary edema (NPE) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Typical symptoms of these diseases include dyspnea (labored breathing), chest discomfort, tachypnea (rapid breathing), and hypoxemia (low blood oxygen). Radiographs and other clinical features are similar to those for pulmonary edema and ARDS not caused by drugs. But unlike pulmonary edema caused by congestive heart failure, drug-related pulmonary edema is usually not accompanied by cardiomegaly (enlarged heart) or pulmonary vascular redistribution.
Drugs and drug-induced conditions that can result in NPE include:
- Pulmonary edema in renal failure
- Heroin and naloxone overdose
- Cytotoxic chemotherapy
- Molecular adsorbent recirculating system (including that by intravenous contrast injection)
Because NPE is associated with a wide range of conditions, its incidence, not to mention that of drug-induced NPE, is very difficult to quantify. The morbidity of NPE depends on the course of underlying neurological problems, the patient’s age, and any co-morbid pathology among other factors. Mortality rates related to ARDS are as high as 40-60 percent.