How is hypersensitivity pneumonitis treated?
Treatment for HP begins with avoiding any allergens that cause your symptoms. Your doctor may recommend staying away from sources of allergens, including pets or farm animals.
Your doctor may suggest changing the way you work so you do not breathe in allergens. For example, you may need to wear an air-purifying respirator, which prevents you from inhaling allergens.
If allergens are unavoidable, your doctor may prescribe corticosteroids like Prednisone. These medications help reduce inflammation, but you may need to take them for several months.
Your doctor may also prescribe immunosuppressive medications like mycophenolate (Myfortic®, CellCept®) or azathioprine (Imuran®). These medications help prevent your immune system from reacting to allergens you inhale. They can decrease inflammation within your lungs.
In severe cases, doctors prescribe supportive therapies to help make breathing easier. Supportive therapies may include:
- Bronchodilators to help relax your airways so they open and make breathing easier
- Oxygen to raise oxygen levels in your blood
What complications are associated with hypersensitivity pneumonitis?
In severe cases, HP causes permanent, irreversible scarring of the lung tissue from repeated, long-term exposure to allergens. This condition is known as pulmonary fibrosis. It makes breathing difficult and prevents enough oxygen from reaching body tissues.
If you have chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis, you are more at risk for pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonary hypertension is extremely high blood pressure inside the arteries that supply blood to the lungs. This condition requires thorough management by your doctor.