Seven cases of diffuse interstitial lung disease (DILD) are reported with an unequivocal temporal relationship between the development of the lung disease and treatment with gold (6 cases) and penicillamine (1 case). They were characterised clinically by the sudden onset of dyspnoea and crepitations and radiologically by diffuse bilateral pulmonary shadowing. Most showed evidence of hypersensitivity such as eosinophilia, a raised serum IgE level in response to gold, proteinuria, thrombocytopenia, or an immediate postinjection reaction. DILD is a serious complication of treatment with gold and penicillamine that is commoner than generally realised.
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