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Pleurisy (cont.)

Pluerisy Treatment

When you have been diagnosed with pleurisy and more serious causes of chest pain have been ruled out, you will probably get a prescription for pain medicine.

  • You may be prescribed an anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen (Motrin), indomethacin (Indocin), or naproxen (Naprosyn). You may even receive stronger medicine, such as codeine, hydrocodone (Vicodin), or oxycodone (Percocet).
  • If you have a lot of fluid in your chest, it may need to be drained.

Pleurisy Follow-up

Pleurisy can cause intense discomfort. If your pain is not well controlled, you may develop pneumonia because you can't breathe and cough appropriately. Increasing shortness of breath, coughing up more phlegm, intense shaking chills (called rigors), and high fevers should prompt reevaluation by a doctor. If the pain gets worse in spite of prescribed medication or if your symptoms do not improve after a week, you should get reevaluated by a physician.

Pleurisy Prevention

Most pleurisy is caused by infection and is unavoidable. You can avoid severe pleuritic chest pain by early diagnosis and treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs.

Outlook for Pleurisy

Pleurisy caused by viral infections usually lasts about seven days and goes away. Pleurisy from other conditions, such as a cancer, may continue indefinitely.

Medically reviewed by James E Gerace, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Pulmonary Disease


"Diagnostic evaluation of pleural effusion in adults: Additional tests for undetermined etiology"

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/29/2015
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