Skip to content

Children's Health

Font Size

Understanding Cystic Fibrosis -- Diagnosis and Treatment

What Are the Treatments for Cystic Fibrosis? continued...

Antibiotics are crucial to treating cystic fibrosis lung infections.

Mucus-thinning drugs help get rid of mucus in the lungs.

Anti-inflammatory drugs help lower inflammation in the lungs.

Treating Digestive Problems
People with CF need to eat a well-balanced, high-calorie, high-protein diet. Their reduced absorption of nutrients often means that as children, they must get up to 150% of the recommended daily allowances to meet their growth needs. Multivitamins and supplements of vitamins A, D, E, and K are also important. To help digestion, people with cystic fibrosis need to take pancreatic enzymes before every meal and snack and extra enzymes to help digest high-fat foods. Those with severe digestive problems may need supplemental feedings with specialized, high-calorie formulas either with a feeding tube or, in rare cases, through a vein.

Gene Therapy
Gene therapy attacks the cause of cystic fibrosis rather than just treating the symptoms. Kalydeco (generic name: ivacaftor) a drug that treats an underlying cause of cystic fibrosis, may help some people. Four percent of those with the disease -- about 1,200 people in the U.S. -- have the specific gene defect that Kalydeco treats. The drug is approved for people over 6 years old.

Some cystic fibrosis patients have had lung transplants to replace failing lungs.

How Can I Prevent Cystic Fibrosis?

If both parents are carriers of the cystic fibrosis gene, they may wish to consider their chances of having a child with cystic fibrosis. Genetic testing of the unborn baby for cystic fibrosis can be done in the uterus but requires taking fluid or tissue samples from the womb (amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling). Once a child is born, there are no treatments available that can prevent cystic fibrosis from developing.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on March 01, 2015
1 | 2

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.

worried kid
jennifer aniston
Measles virus
sick child

Loaded with tips to help you avoid food allergy triggers.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Child with adhd
rl with friends
Syringes and graph illustration