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Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis Medication

  • Author: Caleb Hsieh, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Ryland P Byrd, Jr, MD  more...
Updated: Jan 20, 2015

Medication Summary

Acute HP abates with antigen avoidance and without specific therapy. Otherwise corticosteroids may speed recovery in patients with severe symptoms or significant lung dysfunction.



Class Summary

Decrease inflammation, suppress leukocyte migration, reverse increased capillary permeability, and dampen the immune system.

Prednisone (Sterapred)


Prescribed for severe symptoms or significant lung dysfunction despite antigen avoidance. Often used for chronic disease.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Caleb Hsieh, MD, MS Department of Internal Medicine, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center

Caleb Hsieh, MD, MS is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Nader Kamangar, MD, FACP, FCCP, FCCM Professor of Clinical Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine; Chief, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Vice-Chair, Department of Medicine, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center

Nader Kamangar, MD, FACP, FCCP, FCCM is a member of the following medical societies: Academy of Persian Physicians, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, American Association for Bronchology and Interventional Pulmonology, American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Critical Care Medicine, American College of Physicians, American Lung Association, American Medical Association, American Thoracic Society, Association of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Program Directors, Association of Specialty Professors, California Sleep Society, California Thoracic Society, Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine, Society of Critical Care Medicine, Trudeau Society of Los Angeles, World Association for Bronchology and Interventional Pulmonology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Daniel R Ouellette, MD, FCCP Associate Professor of Medicine, Wayne State University School of Medicine; Chair of the Clinical Competency Committee, Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship Program, Senior Staff and Attending Physician, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Henry Ford Health System; Chair, Guideline Oversight Committee, American College of Chest Physicians

Daniel R Ouellette, MD, FCCP is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Chest Physicians, Society of Critical Care Medicine, American Thoracic Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Ryland P Byrd, Jr, MD Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine, James H Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University

Ryland P Byrd, Jr, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Chest Physicians, American Thoracic Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Michael Peterson, MD Chief of Medicine, Vice-Chair of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine; Endowed Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco-Fresno, School of Medicine

Michael Peterson, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Physicians, American Thoracic Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Marine Demirjian, MD Resident Physician, Department of Internal Medicine, Ronald Reagan University of California in Los Angeles Medical Center

Marine Demirjian, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, American Medical Women's Association, and California Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Sat Sharma, MD, FRCPC Professor and Head, Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Manitoba; Site Director, Respiratory Medicine, St Boniface General Hospital

Sat Sharma, MD, FRCPC is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Sleep Medicine, American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, American Thoracic Society, Canadian Medical Association, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Royal Society of Medicine, Society of Critical Care Medicine, and World Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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A 60-year-old dairy farmer had an 8-year history of intermittent dyspnea. Chest radiograph shows bilateral reticulonodular interstitial infiltration secondary to subacute hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
Chest radiograph of a patient with chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis from pigeon breeder's disease. Bilateral reticulonodular densities are present.
High-resolution CT scan of lungs shows ground-glass opacification in the acute phase of hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
The chronic phase of hypersensitivity pneumonitis shows honeycombing in the right upper lung and traction bronchiectasis.
High-resolution chest CT scan of a patient with subacute hypersensitivity pneumonitis demonstrates centrilobular nodules. These nodules are unlike those of sarcoidosis, in which the nodules are subpleural and along bronchovascular bundles.
Light microscopy shows mononuclear infiltration and noncaseating granulomas usually observed in association with acute hypersensitivity pneumonitis, but it also can be observed in subacute and chronic disease.
Giant cells are a characteristic feature of hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
Chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis shows interstitial inflammation associated with fibrosis.
Table. Selected Etiological Agents for Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis
DiseaseSource of ExposureMajor Antigen
Farmer's lungMoldy haySaccharopolyspora rectivirgula

(Micropolyspora faeni)

BagassosisMoldy sugar cane fiberThermoactinomyces sacchari
Grain handler's lungMoldy grainS rectivirgula,Thermoactinomyces vulgaris
Humidifier/air-conditioner lungContaminated forced-air systems, heated water reservoirsS rectivirgula, T vulgaris
Bird breeder's lungPigeons, parakeets, fowl, rodentsAvian or animal proteins
Cheese worker's lungCheese moldPenicillium casei
Malt worker's lungMoldy maltAspergillus clavatus
Paprika splitter's lungPaprika dustMucor stolonifer
Wheat weevilInfested wheatSitophilus granarius
Mollusk shell hypersensitivityShell dustSea snail shells
Chemical worker's lungManufacture of plastics, polyurethane foam, rubberTrimellitic anhydride, diisocyanate, methylene diisocyanate
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