“Organizing pneumonia” is an uncommon lung condition. The term is used to describe a particular type of reaction in the lungs. The formal name is cryptogenic organizing pneumonia. It was previously called "bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia," or BOOP.
The symptoms of organizing pneumonia vary. But they often include a persistent dry cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, low-grade fever, and weight loss. The chest X-ray is abnormal, and shows patchy shadows in the lungs, usually more so in the lower half of the lung. Doctors can confirm the diagnosis with a biopsy of lung tissue.
Organizing pneumonia can happen without any cause doctors can identify. Or it may be associated with an infection, a drug reaction, some diseases or radiation therapy. The walls of the air sacs get damaged by inflammation. But scientists don’t yet know why a particular person develops the problem.
If an underlying or associated cause is found, treating the cause may be enough. But in most cases, doctors prescribe a corticosteroid drug, such as prednisone. You would take this by mouth.
The starting does of prednisone is around 60 milligrams, once per day. With milder cases, the starting dose may be lower. The dose is slowly tapered down depending upon how well the patient responds.
More severe disease may require higher doses. This could mean using intravenous methyl prednisolone (Solu-Medrol).
High-dose corticosteroids depress the immune system. So, if a patient will need prednisone daily for more than one month, I recommend they have a skin test for TB done before taking the medicine. If you already know that your skin test is positive for TB, your doctor needs to know.
Also, some advice for people who require high doses of prednisone or other corticosteroids for long periods of time: They need to take medicine to prevent the lung infection Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia.