Treatments for Cystic Fibrosis in Children

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At the present time, there is no cure for CF, but with medical and psychosocial support, many children and adolescents with CF can cope well and lead a productive life. The goals of treatment are to ease severity of your child's symptoms and slow the progress of the disease.

Your child's treatment is likely to include:

  • chest physical therapy to help loosen and clear lung secretions. This may include postural drainage and devices such as a percussor or flutter, which vibrate the chest wall and loosen secretions
  • exercise to loosen mucus, stimulate coughing and improve overall physical condition
  • medications to reduce mucus and help breathing, such as bronchodilators and anti-inflammatory medications
  • antibiotics to treat infections
  • management of digestive problems, which may involve:
    • appropriate diet
    • pancreatic enzymes to aid digestion
    • vitamin supplements
    • treatments for intestinal obstructions
    • dietary supplements
  • psychosocial support to help deal with issues relating to independence, sterility, sexuality, financial issues and relationships

Lung transplant

A lung transplantation – usually a double-lung transplant – may be an option if your child has end-stage lung disease. A lung transplant replaces the diseased lungs with a healthy pair of lungs. But this won't “cure” CF because the CF gene is in all of the cells in your child's body, and not just in her lungs.

Is gene therapy a treatment option?

Not at this time, although there are studies looking into it. The challenge is that the genes need to be targeted at the linings of the lungs and the airways, but those linings are being continually shed. Researchers are looking for a way to get the cells to stay and work as lifelong therapy.

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- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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