High treatment burden in adults with cystic fibrosis: challenges to disease self-management

J Cyst Fibros. 2009 Mar;8(2):91-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jcf.2008.09.007. Epub 2008 Oct 26.


Background: More aggressive management of cystic fibrosis (CF), along with the use of new therapies, has led to increasing survival. Thus, the recommended daily treatment regimens for most CF adults are complex and time consuming.

Methods: In the Project on Adult Care in CF (PAC-CF), an ongoing longitudinal study of CF adults, we assessed self-reported daily treatment activities and perceived treatment burden as measured by the CF Questionnaire-Revised (CFQ-R), a disease-specific quality of life measure.

Results: Among the 204 respondents, the median number of daily therapies reported was 7 (IQR 5-9) and the mean reported time spent on treatment activities was 108 minutes per day (SD 58 min). Respondents reported a median of 3 inhaled and 3 oral therapies on the day prior to the survey. Only 49% reported performing airway clearance (ACT) on that day. There were no differences in the number of medications or the time to complete therapies based on gender, age or FEV1. The mean CFQ-R treatment burden domain score was 52.3 (SD 22.1), with no significant differences in the treatment burden based on age or FEV1. In a multivariable model controlling for age, gender, and FEV1, using 2 or more nebulized medications and performing ACT for >or=30 min were significantly associated with increased treatment burden.

Conclusion: The level of daily treatment activity is high for CF adults regardless of age or disease severity. Increasing number of nebulized therapies and increased ACT time, but not gender, age, or pulmonary function, are associated with higher perceived treatment burden. Efforts to assess the effects of high treatment burden on outcomes such as quality of life are warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / diagnosis
  • Cystic Fibrosis / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Quality of Life
  • Respiratory Therapy / methods
  • Self Care*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires