Established and experimental medical therapy of pulmonary sarcoidosis

Eur Respir J. 2013 Jun;41(6):1424-38. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00060612. Epub 2013 Feb 8.


The treatment options for pulmonary sarcoidosis have increased over the past 10 years. As new treatments have been introduced, the best way to assess and compare treatments remains unknown. The goal of this review is to discuss the standard treatments for pulmonary sarcoidosis, including glucocorticoids, and cytotoxic agents, such as methotrexate, azathioprine and leflunomide, and compare them to the newer biological agents, such as infliximab and adalimumab. We also discuss some novel treatments which are currently being evaluated. To compare these different regimens, we look at the measures used to assess response. These include pulmonary function, chest imaging, steroid sparing potential and, more recently, improvements in quality of life measures. While there is, as yet, no standard assessment for response, there is a growing consensus that response to treatment may include improvement of one or more of the following: forced vital capacity, chest imaging and steroid sparing. Several drugs used for pulmonary sarcoidosis have demonstrated improvement in one or more of these measures.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adalimumab
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use
  • Azathioprine / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dyspnea / diagnosis
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Infliximab
  • Isoxazoles / therapeutic use
  • Leflunomide
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Quality of Life
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Research Design
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / diagnosis
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / drug therapy*
  • Therapies, Investigational
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Isoxazoles
  • Infliximab
  • Adalimumab
  • Leflunomide
  • Azathioprine
  • Methotrexate