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Treatment for Cystic Fibrosis

Your child's health care provider will figure out the best treatment for your child based on:

  • How old your child is

  • His or her overall health and medical history

  • How sick your child is

  • Your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • Your opinion or preference

There is no cure for CF. However, research in gene therapy is being done. The gene that causes CF has been found. This may lead to an increased understanding of the disease. Gene therapy research may eventually cure, prevent, or slow progression of the disease. Goals of treatment are to ease severity of symptoms and slow the progress of the disease. Treatment may include:

  • Management of problems that cause lung obstruction, such as:

    • Chest physical therapy. This helps loosen and clear lung secretions. Treatment may include postural drainage, and devices, such as a percussor or flutter, which vibrate the chest wall and loosen secretions. Chest physical therapy can be done manually or mechanically, with a vest.

    • Exercise. This helps loosen mucus, stimulate coughing, and improve overall physical condition.

    • Medications, such as bronchodilators and anti-inflammatories. These are used to decrease inflammation and swelling, thin the mucus, open airways, and help breathing.

    • Antibiotics. These are used to treat infections.

  • Management of digestive problems, which may involve:

    • Changing your child's diet

    • Pancreatic enzymes to aid digestion

    • Vitamin supplements

    • Treatments for intestinal obstructions

  • Psychosocial support. Provides help in dealing with coping, independence, sterility, and sexuality, financial issues, and relationships.

As lung disease gets near the end stage, lung transplantation may be an option. The type of transplant done is usually a double lung transplant, because leaving the other, sicker lung in place puts it at risk for infection and damage. Not everyone is a candidate for a lung transplant. Ask your child's health care provider for more information.

With medical and psychosocial support, many children and adolescents with CF can cope well and lead a productive life.

Last Reviewed Date: 10/14/2014
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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