Silicosis medical therapy

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Silicosis Microchapters


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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Aparna Vuppala, M.B.B.S. [2]


Silicosis is an irreversible condition with currently no cure. Treatment options currently focus on alleviating the symptoms and preventing complications.

Medical Therapy

  • There is no evidence-based medical therapy for the treatment of silicosis.
  • Generally, management of silicosis aims to manage other respiratory comorbidities (e.g. COPD or tuberculosis) and to treat silicosis-associated complications.
  • Management goals include avoidance of exposure to silica, optimization of respiratory function, and preventive care.

Management of Acute Silicosis

  • A modest short-term randomized clinical trial demonstrated that systemic steroids may be effective in the management of steroids, but the benefit has not been well-established[1]
  • Whole-lung lavage is recommended in acute silicosis to improve gas exchange and eliminate residual alveolar debris, although not routinely recommended because of the ill effects[2]

Management of Chronic Silicosis

  • Systemic steroid therapy are not recommended for the indication of chronic silicosis alone. However, systemic steroids may be administered to patients who are diagnosed with silicosis and have other indications like COPD flare up for the use of steroids[3]

Supportive therapy


  1. Goodman GB, Kaplan PD, Stachura I, Castranova V, Pailes WH, Lapp NL (1992). "Acute silicosis responding to corticosteroid therapy". Chest. 101 (2): 366–70. PMID 1735256.
  2. Stafford M, Cappa A, Weyant M, Lara A, Ellis J, Weitzel NS; et al. (2013). "Treatment of acute silicoproteinosis by whole-lung lavage". Semin Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 17 (2): 152–9. doi:10.1177/1089253213486524. PMID 23632425.
  3. Sharma SK, Pande JN, Verma K (1991). "Effect of prednisolone treatment in chronic silicosis". Am Rev Respir Dis. 143 (4 Pt 1): 814–21. doi:10.1164/ajrccm/143.4_Pt_1.814. PMID 2008993.

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