The prevalence of "risky behaviour" in adults with cystic fibrosis

J Cyst Fibros. 2012 Jan;11(1):56-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jcf.2011.09.002. Epub 2011 Oct 2.


Background: The prevalence of "risky-behaviour" including alcohol and illicit drug use, smoking and unprotected sexual intercourse, of adults with cystic fibrosis (CF) is unknown. We conducted this prospective questionnaire-based study to further explore this issue.

Methods: An anonymous 71-point questionnaire was sent to all adult patients aged ≥18 years attending the Royal Brompton CF Unit. Results were compared to national (non-CF) data.

Results: 83% (n=151) drink alcohol and 13% (n=23) drink more than recommended by national guidelines. 46% (n=84) have tried smoking and 3% (n=5) continue to smoke regularly. 35% (n=64) have tried illicit drugs and 3% (n=6) continue to use them. 86% (n=154) are sexually active; 60% use contraception (males 46%, females 62%). Compared with the general (non-CF) UK population, less CF patients drink heavily (13 vs. 23%; p<0.001), smoke (3 vs. 21%; p<0.001), have tried illicit drugs (35 vs. 37%; p<0.001) and are sexually active (86 vs. 97%; p<0.001).The same proportion use contraception (60 vs. 61%; p=0.8).

Conclusion: Participation in risky behaviour was modest. With improved life expectancy this may increase. Awareness of this is important so that health promotion measures can be introduced early.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / epidemiology*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Young Adult