Basic therapies in cystic fibrosis. Does standard therapy work?

Clin Chest Med. 1998 Sep;19(3):487-504, vi. doi: 10.1016/s0272-5231(05)70095-2.


Epidemiologic data demonstrate a dramatic improvement in survival for cystic fibrosis (CF) over the last few decades and projections suggest that trend will continue. Standard therapy works and should be aggressively applied to this patient population. Although the specific therapies have evolved over the years, the basic tenets of CF care remain unchanged and include antibiotics to control infection, airway clearance, and adequate nutrition. This article focuses on treatment of the pulmonary disease and includes a discussion of the following specific components of a standard therapeutic approach to CF: (1) antibiotics, (2) airway clearance and exercise, (3) mucolytics, (4) bronchodilators, (5) oxygen, (6) anti-inflammatory therapies, and (7) nutritional support. Judicious application of these therapies coupled with careful monitoring of pulmonary, nutritional, and metabolic parameters results in most CF patients surviving into adulthood with an acceptable quality of life.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cystic Fibrosis / drug therapy
  • Cystic Fibrosis / microbiology
  • Cystic Fibrosis / physiopathology*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / therapy*
  • Expectorants / therapeutic use
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Respiratory Therapy


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Expectorants
  • Glucocorticoids