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How is cystic fibrosis treated?

Early recognition of cystic fibrosis and a comprehensive, multidisciplinary treatment program can lengthen survival time and improve quality of life. Specialty clinics for cystic fibrosis can be found in many communities and may be helpful.

Medications include antibiotics for respiratory infections and pancreatic enzymes to replace those which are missing. Vitamin supplements are sometimes prescribed. Inhaled bronchodilators are used to relieve chronic obstruction of the airways.

Other treatments include postural drainage, chest percussion and other breathing treatments.

Lung transplant may be considered in some cases.

New treatments include replacement of the DNAse enzyme. This is available as a medication called dornase (Pulmozyme). Genetic research is ongoing in hopes of correcting the disease by artificially inserting a "normal" gene into the person. This treatment is called gene therapy, and an intranasal form of gene therapy is currently undergoing clinical trials. Research on possible methods which could be used to correct the disorder before birth seems promising.

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