Objective: To determine the effect of inhaled corticosteroids on lung function in patients with cystic fibrosis.
Study design: We report a pilot study of 49 patients with cystic fibrosis and moderate to severe bronchial obstruction (forced expiratory volume in 1 second < or = 55% of the predicted value); 25 patients were given inhaled corticosteroids for 30 days (1500 micrograms of beclomethasone via spacer), and 24 patients had the same standard treatment but no inhaled corticosteroids.
Results: Forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in 1 second, and airway resistance showed significant improvement in both study groups, but thoracic gas volume and the diffusion capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide improved significantly only in the group given inhaled corticosteroids. When concomitant medications were taken into account, analysis of variance confirmed a significant effect of inhaled corticosteroids on the improvement of thoracic gas volume.
Conclusion: Inhaled corticosteroids in combination with standard treatment can contribute to the improvement of lung function in patients with cystic fibrosis and moderate to severe bronchial obstruction. Our preliminary data seem encouraging enough to warrant a multicenter, long-term, blind control study.