Leflunomide induced acute interstitial pneumonia
Leflunomide induced acute interstitial pneumonia is a form of drug induced interstitial lung disease. The precipitation of radiological evidence of pulmonary infiltrates, clinical acute respiratory illness in the context of a good temporal relationship with commencement of the agent and no clear evidence of precipitating infection could suggest the diagnosis.
Leflunomide (or Arava TM) is a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) that is used in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Patients can get an acute deterioration of symptoms which can clinically progress like an acute interstitial pneumonitis.
Treatment and prognosis
The overall prognosis is variable with some cases even reported as being fatal 5. Agents such as prednisolone (pulse therapy) and cholestyramine have been used and prompt treatment with cessation of agent may improve overall prognosis.
On imaging possible differential considerations include
- sudden rapid progression of preexisting interstitial fibrosis in rheumatoid disease
- concurrent complicating multifocal infective process such as pneumocystis pneumonia 4 or mycoplasma pneumonia etc.
- 1. Takeishi M, Akiyama Y, Akiba H et-al. Leflunomide induced acute interstitial pneumonia. J. Rheumatol. 2005;32 (6): 1160-3. Pubmed citation
- 2. Maskey-Warzęchowska M, Karwat K, Szczepankiewicz B et-al. Leflunomide-induced acute interstitial pneumonia in a patient treated for rheumatoid arthritis. Pneumonol Alergol Pol. 2015;83 (1): 50-4. doi:10.5603/PiAP.2015.0007 - Pubmed citation
- 3. Savage RL, Highton J, Boyd IW et-al. Pneumonitis associated with leflunomide: a profile of New Zealand and Australian reports. Intern Med J. 2006;36 (3): 162-9. doi:10.1111/j.1445-5994.2006.01035.x - Pubmed citation
- 4. Hirabayashi Y, Shimizu H, Kobayashi N et-al. Leflunomide-induced pneumonitis in a patient with rheumatoid arthritis. Intern. Med. 2006;45 (10): 689-91. Pubmed citation
- 5. Kamata Y, Nara H, Kamimura T et-al. Rheumatoid arthritis complicated with acute interstitial pneumonia induced by leflunomide as an adverse reaction. Intern. Med. 2005;43 (12): 1201-4. Pubmed citation
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