Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you have hypersensitivity or chemical pneumonitis, avoiding allergens is a common-sense approach to treatment. By eliminating exposure to the allergen or chemical irritating your lungs, you'll likely notice that your symptoms lessen.

In severe cases of pneumonitis, treatment may include:

  • Corticosteroids. Drugs that reduce inflammation, such as prednisone, can help relieve the symptoms of pneumonitis. Corticosteroids are usually taken as a pill. These drugs work by suppressing your immune system, reducing inflammation in your lungs. However, long-term corticosteroid use also increases your risk of developing infections and is associated with the thinning of bones (osteoporosis).
  • Antibiotics. If you have a bacterial infection in your lungs, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic, which may be given through a vein in your arm or taken as a pill, depending on the severity of the infection.
  • Oxygen therapy. If you're having a lot of trouble breathing, you may need oxygen therapy through a mask or plastic tubing with prongs that fit into your nostrils. Some people need oxygen therapy constantly, while others might need it only during exercise or sleep.
Jun. 03, 2011