There is no cure for sarcoidosis, but there are many different treatment options for patients. The focus of treatment is to improve symptoms and improve quality of life. While some achieve remission, the majority of patients learn management methods for what is a chronic condition.
Sarcoidosis can be treated with steroidal medication, such as Prednisone, and non-steroidal medications.
Examples of non-steroidal medications include:
- Antimalarial medicines: best for treating sarcoidosis that affects the skin. Antimalarial medication may also be prescribed for patients with a high level of calcium in their blood due to sarcoidosis.
- Immunosuppressant medicines: best for treating sarcoidosis patients who cannot tolerate steroids or who require stronger therapy. Examples of these medications include Methotrexate, Azathioprine, Cellcept (mycophenolate mofetil) and TNF inhibitors (Remicade/Infliximab and Humira/Adalimumab)
- Topical eye drops and skin creams
- Patients experiencing wheezing and coughing may benefit from inhaled medicine to help open their airways. This allows the medicine to go straight to the lungs.
About 5-10% of sarcoidosis patients have elevated calcium levels in their blood, and about 15-30% have elevated calcium levels in their urine, which can lead to kidney stones, problems with kidney function, and weakened bones. The Sarcoidosis Program measures and helps patients maintain proper calcium levels, first through conservative approaches such as decreased vitamin D and calcium intake and decreased sun exposure. If these methods prove unsuccessful, medication may be prescribed.
- Oxygen therapy: when sarcoidosis affects the ability of the lungs to function normally, patients may require supplemental oxygen to help them breathe.
- Pulmonary Hypertension: high blood pressure in the lungs may develop in some patients who are persistently breathless despite treatment. The Sarcoidosis Program has close ties to BMC's Pulmonary Hypertension Program and can help with diagnosis and treatment of this complication.
- Heart Failure and Heart Rhythm Changes: for patients who develop heart complications of sarcoidosis, specialized cardiology evaluations may be required. The Sarcoidosis Program's cardiology specialists can be helpful in difficult treatment decisions.
- Pulmonary rehabilitation: for patients who develop chronic, progressive sarcoidosis, pulmonary rehabilitation also may be helpful. The pulmonary rehabilitation program at BMC includes cardiovascular training, strength training, stretching/yoga, and relaxation techniques, and an educational component.
- In rare cases, lung transplants may be considered for patients with sarcoidosis who have not responded to the maximum levels of medical therapy.