There's no cure for cystic fibrosis, but a range of treatments can help control the symptoms, prevent or reduce complications, and make the condition easier to live with.
Medicines for lung problems
People with cystic fibrosis may need to take different medicines to treat and prevent lung problems. These may be swallowed, inhaled or injected.Medicines for lung problems include:
- antibiotics to prevent and treat chest infections
- medicines to make the mucus in the lungs thinner and easier to cough up – for example, dornase alfa, hypertonic saline and mannitol dry powder
- medicine to help reduce the levels of mucus in the body – for example, ivacaftor taken on its own (Kalydeco) or in combination with lumacaftor
- bronchodilators to widen the airways and make breathing easier
- steroid medicine to treat small growths inside the nose (nasal polyps)
In severe cases of cystic fibrosis, when the lungs stop working properly and all medical treatments have failed to help, a lung transplant may be recommended. A lung transplant is a serious operation that carries risks, but it can greatly improve the length and quality of life for people with severe cystic fibrosis.