[Hydroxyurea-induced pneumonia]

Rev Mal Respir. 2014 May;31(5):430-4. doi: 10.1016/j.rmr.2013.09.001. Epub 2013 Oct 9.
[Article in French]


Introduction: Hydroxyurea is an antimetabolite drug used in the treatment of myeloproliferative disorders. Common adverse effects include haematological, gastrointestinal cutaneous manifestations, and fever. Hydroxyurea-induced pneumonitis is unusual.

Case report: A female patient was treated with hydroxyurea for polycythemia vera. She was admitted 20 days after commencing treatment with a high fever, productive cough, clear sputum and nausea. A chest CT-scan showed diffuse ground-glass opacities. Microbiological investigations were negative. The symptoms disappeared a few days after discontinuation of the drug and rechallenge led to a relapse of symptoms.

Conclusion: Our case and 15 earlier cases of hydroxyurea-induced pneumonitis are reviewed. Two patterns of this disease may exist: an acute febrile form occurring within 1 month of introduction of hydroxyurea and a subacute form without fever. Even if uncommon, one should be aware of this complication of hydroxyurea.

Keywords: Drug-induced pneumonitis; Fever; Fièvre; Hydroxyurea; Hydroxyurée; Interstitial lung disease; Pneumopathie interstitielle; Pneumopathie médicamenteuse.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyurea / adverse effects*
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / complications
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / drug therapy
  • Pneumonia / chemically induced*
  • Pneumonia / diagnosis
  • Stroke / complications
  • Stroke / drug therapy


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Hydroxyurea