Real-World Outcomes of Ivacaftor Treatment in People with Cystic Fibrosis: A Systematic Review

J Clin Med. 2021 Apr 6;10(7):1527. doi: 10.3390/jcm10071527.


Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a rare, progressive, multi-organ genetic disease. Ivacaftor, a small-molecule CF transmembrane conductance regulator modulator, was the first medication to treat the underlying cause of CF. Since its approval, real-world clinical experience on the use of ivacaftor has been documented in large registries and smaller studies. Here, we systematically review data from real-world observational studies of ivacaftor treatment in people with CF (pwCF). Searches of MEDLINE and Embase identified 368 publications reporting real-world studies that enrolled six or more pwCF treated with ivacaftor published between January 2012 and September 2019. Overall, 75 publications providing data from 57 unique studies met inclusion criteria and were reviewed. Studies reporting within-group change for pwCF treated with ivacaftor consistently showed improvements in lung function, nutritional parameters, and patient-reported respiratory and sino-nasal symptoms. Benefits were evident as early as 1 month following ivacaftor initiation and were sustained over long-term follow-up. Decreases in pulmonary exacerbations, Pseudomonas aeruginosa prevalence, and healthcare resource utilization also were reported for up to 66 months following ivacaftor initiation. In studies comparing ivacaftor treatment to modulator untreated comparator groups, clinical benefits similarly were reported as were decreases in mortality, organ-transplantation, and CF-related complications. The safety profile of ivacaftor observed in these real-world studies was consistent with the well-established safety profile based on clinical trial data. Our systematic review of real-world studies shows ivacaftor treatment in pwCF results in highly consistent and sustained clinical benefit in both pulmonary and non-pulmonary outcomes across various geographies, study designs, patient characteristics, and follow-up durations, confirming and expanding upon evidence from clinical trials.

Keywords: cystic fibrosis; cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR); ivacaftor; real-world evidence; systematic literature review.

Publication types

  • Review