Severe minocycline-induced eosinophilic pneumonia: extrapulmonary manifestations and the use of in vitro immunoassays

Ann Pharmacother. 1997 Jun;31(6):733-5. doi: 10.1177/106002809703100612.


Objective: To report a severe and unusual reaction to minocycline and the use of in vitro immunologic assays.

Case summary: A 46-year-old white man developed severe respiratory distress with pulmonary infiltrates on chest X-ray and eosinophilia in blood, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, and biopsied lung tissue during exposure to minocycline. Additional manifestations included pleuropericardial effusion, liver function abnormality, and bone marrow eosinophilia. Macrophage inhibition factor and mast cell degranulation assays were positive to minocycline.

Discussion: The patient's manifestations were compatible with the diagnosis of eosinophilic pneumonia. After excluding other possible etiologies, minocycline was identified as the offending agent. Generalized damage was suggested by the presence of a combination of extrapulmonary manifestations previously not reported. Results of the in vitro immunologic assays supported the hypersensitivity nature of the disease and confirmed the diagnosis.

Conclusions: Minocycline-induced eosinophilic pneumonia may involve extrapulmonary sites. It is suggested that in vitro immunoassays be used for confirmation of the diagnosis rather than rechallenge or invasive procedures.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cell Degranulation
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay
  • Macrophage Migration-Inhibitory Factors / analysis
  • Male
  • Mast Cells / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Minocycline / adverse effects*
  • Minocycline / therapeutic use
  • Pulmonary Eosinophilia / chemically induced*
  • Pulmonary Eosinophilia / diagnosis


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Macrophage Migration-Inhibitory Factors
  • Minocycline