People with cystic fibrosis need a variety of medications to treat lung disease and other complications of CF. Many of these medications are inhaled using a nebulizer (turns medication into a mist so it can be breathed directly into the lungs through a mouthpiece). Inhaled medications are particularly useful because they can travel deep into the airways directly to lung tissue. Some common types of medications for CF lung disease are:
- Mucolytics – to loosen lung mucus so it can be coughed up more easily
- Bronchodilators – to expand the airways; usually taken before physiotherapy to allow mucus to be coughed up more easily
- Steroids – to decrease inflammation in the lungs
- Antibiotics – to fight lung infections; may be given as an inhaled, oral or IV medication, depending on the type of antibiotic and severity of infection
Read the Consensus Statement on Aerosolized Antibiotics.
People with CF often take pancreatic enzymes and vitamins to boost nutrition, insulin to control CF-related diabetes and additional medications for other medical complications.