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CF treatments

Treatments for CF target different aspects of the disease in the lungs. Current routine respiratory treatments can be broadly divided into four groups:

  • Airway mucus clearance therapies (physical airway clearance techniques and osmotic drugs)
  • Prevention and control of respiratory infection
  • Anti-inflammatory therapy
  • Treatment of respiratory complications

Rollover the stages of CF lung disease below to find out about some of the drug treatments at each stage.


Gene therapies

What do they do?

Scientists are researching ways to correct the defective CF gene and prevent damage to the lungs occurring.


Drugs targeting defective or deficient CFTR

What do they do?

There are two drugs available that aim to address defective CFTR. Available in a tablet form, their mode of action is to improve or restore CFTR quantity or function at a cellular level.


Osmotic treatments

These can be nebulised or taken by dry powder inhaler.

What do they do?

Help mucus clearance from the lungs by hydrating the airway surface layer and changing the properties of the mucus.



Different treatments are prescribed depending on the infecting micro-organisms.

What do they do?

Suppress or eradicate bacteria that may cause infection. Can be dry powder, nebulised or intravenous (for acute infection).



What do they do?

Break down mucin and reduce mucus stickiness.



What do they do?

Open up the airways when people are breathless or wheezy.



What do they do?

Treat inflammation due to infection.



What does it do?

Damaged lungs are removed and replaced with donor lungs.

Patients awaiting transplantation can be helped by hospitalisation, continuous intravenous antibiotics, overnight oxygen, non-invasive ventilatory support and tube feeding.


Adverse events should be reported to Pharmaxis Ltd by email: