Recommendations for the management of pulmonary fungal infections in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Clin Exp Rheumatol. Nov-Dec 2017;35(6):1018-1028. Epub 2017 Nov 28.


Often life-threatening pulmonary fungal infections (PFIs) can occur in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) receiving disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Most of the data concerning PFIs in RA patients come from case reports and retrospective case series. Of the ve most widely described PFIs, Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PJP) has rarely been seen outside Japan, pulmonary cryptococcosis has been diagnosed in only a small number of patients worldwide, pulmonary coccidioidomycosis has almost only been observed in endemic areas, the limited number of cases of pulmonary histoplasmosis have mainly occurred in the USA, and the rare cases of invasive pulmonary aspergillosis have only been encountered in leukopenic patients. Many aspects of the prophylaxis, diagnosis and treatment of PFIs in RA patients remain to be defined, as does the role of each DMARD in increasing the risk of infection, and the possibility of resuming biological and non-biological DMARD treatment after the infection has been cured. The recommendations for the management of PFIs described in this paper are the product of a consensus procedure promoted by the Italian group for the Study and Management of Infections in Patients with Rheumatic Diseases (the ISMIR group).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antirheumatic Agents / adverse effects
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications*
  • Coccidioidomycosis / drug therapy
  • Cryptococcosis / drug therapy
  • Histoplasmosis / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Fungal / drug therapy*
  • Pneumonia, Pneumocystis / drug therapy
  • Pulmonary Aspergillosis / drug therapy


  • Antirheumatic Agents