Background: Poor nutrition occurs frequently in people with cystic fibrosis (CF) and is associated with other adverse outcomes. Oral calorie supplements are used to increase total daily calorie intake and improve weight gain. However, they are expensive and there are concerns they may reduce the amount of food eaten and not improve overall energy intake.
Objectives: To establish whether in people with CF, oral calorie supplements: increase daily calorie intake; and improve overall nutritional intake, nutritional indices, lung function, survival and quality of life. To assess adverse effects associated with using these supplements.
Search strategy: We searched the Cochrane CF Trials Register comprising references from comprehensive electronic database searches, handsearches of relevant journals and abstract books of conference proceedings. We contacted companies marketing oral calorie supplements. Last search: October 2006.
Selection criteria: Randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials comparing use of oral calorie supplements for at least one month to increase calorie intake with no specific intervention or additional nutritional advice in people with CF.
Data collection and analysis: We independently selected the included trials, assessed methodological quality and extracted data. We contacted the authors of included trials and for two trials obtained additional information.
Main results: Eighteen trials were identified and three, reporting results from 131 participants, were included. There were no significant differences between people receiving supplements or dietary advice alone for change in weight, height, body mass index, z score or other indices of nutrition or growth. Changes in weight (kg) at three, six and twelve months respectively were: WMD 0.32 (95% CI -0.09 to 0.72); WMD 0.47 (95% CI -0.07 to 1.02 ); and WMD 0.16 (-0.68 to 1.00). Total calorie intake was greater in people taking supplements at 12 months, WMD 265.70 (95% CI 42.94 to 488.46). There were no significant differences between the groups for anthropometric measures of body composition, lung function, gastrointestinal adverse effects or activity levels.
Authors' conclusions: Oral calorie supplements do not confer any additional benefit in the nutritional management of moderately malnourished children with CF over and above the use of dietary advice and monitoring alone. While nutritional supplements may be used, they should not be regarded as essential. Further randomised controlled trials are needed to establish the role of oral protein energy supplements for the short-term in people with CF and acute weight loss and also for the long-term nutritional management of adults with CF or advanced lung disease, or both.