Amiloride inhalation therapy in cystic fibrosis. Influence on ion content, hydration, and rheology of sputum

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1993 Oct;148(4 Pt 1):1002-7. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/148.4_Pt_1.1002.


Amiloride inhalation as treatment for cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease has been shown in independent studies to increase mucus clearance by ciliary and/or cough action and to retard the decline in lung function. It is hypothesized that amiloride therapy decreases the excess sodium and water absorption that is a characteristic of CF airway epithelium and that it leads to an improvement in the rheologic properties of mucus favoring airway mucus clearance. The aim of this study was to investigate whether amiloride treatment (5 x 10(-3) M amiloride in one-third normal saline four times a day) would change sputum electrolyte composition in patients with CF after 25 wk of therapy as compared with placebo (one-third normal saline), and whether appropriate changes in sputum water content and rheologic properties would accompany any changes in electrolyte composition. Sputum samples were obtained from six patients with CF undergoing amiloride therapy, using the dental cotton protection technique to avoid salivary contamination. The samples were stored at -80 degrees C until analyzed. For electrolyte analyses an aliquot of the sputum (minimum, 30 mg) was analyzed with ion-selective electrodes for sodium and potassium, and a chloride meter was used to measure chloride content. Chronic (25-wk) amiloride therapy increased significantly the sputum sodium (94.8 +/- 16.4 to 121.4 +/- 15.4 mmol/L, p = 0.001) and chloride (64.4 +/- 11.8 to 77.2 +/- 8.0 mmol/L, p = 0.10) content when compared with 25 wk of saline treatment.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amiloride / administration & dosage*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / drug therapy*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / metabolism
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Electrolytes / analysis
  • Humans
  • Rheology
  • Sputum / chemistry
  • Sputum / drug effects*
  • Time Factors
  • Water / analysis


  • Electrolytes
  • Water
  • Amiloride