Common drugs that doctors prescribe to treat heart problems, arthritis and cancer can actually pose a threat to lung health, according to new research.
A systematic review of research has revealed that drugs regularly taken to treat a range of common conditions can cause more toxic effects on the lungs than previously thought.
Although the 27 drugs that treat a range of conditions, including arthritis, cancer and heart problems are successful for most patients, the research suggests doctors need to be more aware of the potential risks to their respiratory systems.
The University of Manchester study looked at data from 6200 patients across 156 papers published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine.
Despite the fact that drug-induced interstitial lung disease (DIILD) can cause difficulty breathing, inflammation and fibrosis, the risk sometimes only becomes apparent after the drugs have been in use for some years.
The review also found that DIILD accounted for around three to five per cent of all interstitial lung disease cases.
In some of the studies, mortality rates of over 50 per cent were reported and, overall, 25 per cent of all the patients studied died as a result of respiratory symptoms.
The University of Manchester’s Professor John Waterton said the side effects of drugs on the lung are much more widespread than previously thought.
“We do know it affects a considerable number of people, which is why we want to develop better imaging tests to pick up any lung problems before they become serious,” Prof Waterton said.
“It’s important to stress that patients can safely continue to take their medication – but it’s also important that doctors monitor and assess them closely for side effects in the lung.”
The common drugs with DIILD liability in the review are: Bleomycin, Gemcitabine, Erlotinib, Gefitinib, Panitumumab, Cetuximab, Everolimus, Temsirolimus, Sirolimus, Ipilimumab, Nivolumab, Pembrolizumab, Atezolizumab, Avelumab, Durvalumab, Irinotecan, Pemetrexed, Methotrexate, Infliximab, Etanercept, Adalimumab, Golimumab, Leflunomide, Amiodarone, Nitrofurantoin, Distamycin and Carbamazepine.
Do you take any of the drugs listed in the study? Will you be asking your doctor to more closely monitor for warning signs of lung disease?
Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.