Treatment strategies for a rheumatoid arthritis patient with interstitial lung disease

Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2008 Dec;9(18):3221-30. doi: 10.1517/14656560802591430.


This review article describes our present understanding of interstitial lung disease (ILD) complicating rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It discusses its high prevalence and clinical relevance, our recent improvement in understanding both its pathology and physiology, and our expectations of ongoing research into the immunology and genetics of the disease. An important section relates to the effects of drugs routinely used in the treatment of the articular manifestations of RA on the lung, especially in the presence of ILD. The major focus of the article is on therapeutic intervention, and here we discuss traditional and often unsuccessful approaches to treatment, leading on to discuss newly introduced therapeutic options such as anticoagulation and oral N-acetylcysteine. In the later sections, we focus our attention on several promising new therapeutic agents, including mycophenolate and new monoclonal antibody therapies, reviewing the limited literature available to support the use of these agents, concluding with a number of other aspects of treatment that are worthy of consideration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / complications
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / immunology
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / therapy*
  • Lung Transplantation
  • Mycophenolic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Mycophenolic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Vaccination


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Mycophenolic Acid