Treating the Symptoms

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Laboratory Diagnosis of Cystic Fibrosis. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

Learn more about Laboratory Diagnosis of Cystic Fibrosis (online CE course)
Treating the Symptoms

Patients with CF have daily physiotherapy with inhaled medications to clear their airways and loosen the mucus secretions. Airway clearance improves lung function and decreases lung infections. Medications such as bronchodilators and Pulmozyme® (DNase) are used in nebulizers before chest physiotherapy to open the airways and help degrade the DNA found in mucus from white blood cells. Following percussive therapy and postural drainage, inhaled antibiotics like tobramycin and aztreonam are used.
In addition to these medications, some patients use inhaled hypertonic saline to aid in airway clearance, and some use ibuprofen to decrease pulmonary inflammation. Most patients take oral pancreatic enzymes to aid in the digestion and absorption of their food. Even with the development of medications to treat the specific gene defect, CF patients will continue to require the use the drugs to treat the symptoms.