Long-term effect of insulin treatment in cystic fibrosis-related diabetes

Respiration. 2008;76(2):181-6. doi: 10.1159/000110206. Epub 2007 Oct 25.


Background: Although insulin treatment confers short-term benefit in cystic fibrosis-related diabetes (CFRD), few studies have compared its long-term effect on the clinical outcome.

Objectives: In this study, we aimed to investigate the long-term impact of insulin treatment on pulmonary function, nutritional status and hospital admissions in patients with CFRD.

Methods: We reviewed pulmonary function, body mass index (BMI) and hospital admissions 5 years before and 3 years after insulin therapy in 42 adult CFRD patients.

Results: Prior to treatment, over a period of 5 years, the annual rate of change in forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV(1)) was -3.2%, forced vital capacity (FVC) -2.5%, and BMI -0.07%. At treatment of CFRD (baseline), the mean FEV(1) was 51.6% predicted (range 24-96), FVC 66.4% (range 29-103) and BMI 19.5 (range 15.3-29.5). At 3 months following insulin treatment, there was a significant improvement in all parameters, which was maintained at 1 year for FEV(1) (55.1%; p < 0.002), 2 years for FVC (72.1%; p < 0.01) and at 3 years for BMI (20.4%; p < 0.002). After 3 months, FEV(1) declined at a rate similar to that before treatment (-3.2 vs. -3.1% per year; p = 0.77), such that the mean FEV(1) after treatment returned to pretreatment baseline values at 34 months. There was no difference in the number of hospital admissions with insulin treatment.

Conclusions: Insulin enhances the nutritional state and temporarily improves pulmonary function in CFRD patients, on average delaying the decline in FEV(1) by 34 months.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / etiology
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Insulin / administration & dosage*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin