Purpose of review: Interstitial lung disease and especially drug-induced interstitial lung disease can occur as a cause of drug(s) or drug–drug interactions. In this review we summarize the possible role of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes in drug-induced interstitial lung disease.
Recent findings: The CYP enzyme family plays an important role in the metabolism of all sorts of ingested, injected or inhaled xenobiotic substances. Although the liver is considered to be the major metabolism site of CYP enzymes, in recent years more CYP isoforms have been detected in lung tissue. Polymorphisms in these CYP genes can influence the metabolic activity of the subsequent enzymes, which in turn may lead to localized (toxic) reactions and tissue damage.
Summary: Drug toxicity can be the consequence of no or very poor enzyme activity, especially if no other metabolic route is available. In the case of reduced enzyme activity, dose reduction or prescribing an alternative drug metabolized by a different, unaffected CYP enzyme is recommended to prevent toxic side effects. Therefore, knowing a patient's CYP profile before drug prescription could be a way to prevent drug-induced interstitial lung disease. Moreover, it might be helpful in explaining serious adverse effects from inhaled, injected or ingested xenobiotic substances.