Anti-inflammatory medications and, when necessary, cough syrup with codeine are the most common pain treatments for patients suffering from pleurisy, according to WebMD. While taking these medications, patients frequently take antibiotics as well, to deal with the infection causing the pleurisy.
Pleurisy happens when the two-layered membrane surrounding the lungs and lining the rib cage develops inflammation. The result is intense pain during breathing. In some cases, pleural effusion takes place at the same time. Fluid enters the space between the two layers of the membrane, and painful friction results every time the two surfaces come into contact via coughing or even breathing, explains WebMD.
Most commonly, a viral infection causes pleurisy. Other causes include lung infections such as tuberculosis and pneumonia, chest injuries, reactions to drugs, liver disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, pulmonary embolism and lupus. The seriousness of pleurisy varies with the disease that causes it. Pleural effusion (fluid aggregation) can also occur without pleurisy. Liver disease, heart failure and kidney disease all have the potential to cause this fluid to build up, notes WebMD.
Preventing pleurisy isn't possible as of 2015. This condition often serves as a warning sign for more serious problems, so people who develop these symptoms should seek medical attention as soon as possible, advises WebMD.