There is no cure for pulmonary sarcoidosis. However, it often goes away on its own, leaving behind scars in the organs affected. If you have no significant symptoms, your sarcoidosis might not even require treatment.
If you do seek treatment, the benefit of treatment must be weighed against its side effects. Sarcoidosis can be a serious illness, and at any stage or severity of disease, it should be monitored regularly by your doctor.
Depending on the area of the body affected by sarcoidosis, your doctor may recommend different medications. Some of the medications used to treat sarcoidosis include:
- Corticosteroid medications — can reduce the immune system activity that causes scarring and inflammation. These medications may be applied to the skin in a cream, applied as eye drops directly to the eyes, inhaled into the lungs, or taken by mouth as a pill.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — these medications reduce inflammation with fewer side effects than corticosteroids, but are only appropriate for some patients with sarcoidosis.
- Immunomodulators — reduce inflammation by changing the activity of the immune system. There are many drugs available that change the immune system in different ways, and are available for patients whose sarcoidosis is more resistant to treatment.
- Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine — these drugs, developed for the treatment of malaria, can help some sarcoidosis patients.
Surgery is usually a last resort for people who have more severe sarcoidosis that has caused serious damage to organs.
Lung transplantation is reserved for treating patients with very severe organ damage resulting from sarcoidosis. An organ transplant involves removing a damaged organ, such as a lung, and replacing it with a healthy organ from a deceased donor. Organ transplants can significantly improve quality of life, but involve many risks, including the risk of infection and even death if the body rejects the transplanted organ.
If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of pulmonary sarcoidosis, request an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.