Cystic Fibrosis Treatments

There is no cure for cystic fibrosis, but new treatments focus on helping patients live longer, fuller lives. Individualized treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms.

  • Pulmonary rehabilitation: This may include exercise, education, nutritional counseling and psychosocial counseling.
  • Chest physical therapy: Using your hands or a variety of devices, percussion (pounding) helps loosen mucus in the lungs.
  • Exercise: With precautions to avoid dehydration, exercise can help loosen mucus and make breathing easier.
  • Medications, including:
    • Antibiotics to fight infection
    • Anti-inflammatory drugs (inhaled or oral) to reduce airway swelling
    • Bronchodilators to relax the muscles surrounding the airways
    • Bone density drugs to build bone mass
  • Supplemental oxygen: This therapy may be necessary when blood oxygen levels are low because of mucus buildup.
  • Lung transplant: Some CF patients may qualify for a lung transplant.
  • Nutritional supplements: This is for patients who are not absorbing enough nutrition from their food.
  • High-calorie, high-salt diet: This diet helps combat weight loss and dehydration due to excessive sweating.
  • Feeding tube: A feeding tube helps some patients absorb more nutrients.


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