Review Article

Pediatric Drugs

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 141-147

First online:

Targeting Airway Inflammation in Cystic Fibrosis in Children

Past, Present, and Future
  • Tacjana PresslerAffiliated withCF Centre Copenhagen, Department of Paediatrics, University Hospital Rigshospitalet Email author 

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Inflammation is a major component of the vicious cycle characterizing cystic fibrosis (CF) pulmonary disease. If untreated, this inflammatory process irreversibly damages the airways, leading to bronchiectasis and ultimately respiratory failure. Anti-inflammatory drugs for CF lung disease appear to have beneficial effects on disease progression. These agents include oral corticosteroids and ibuprofen, as well as azithromycin, which, in addition to its antimicrobial effects, also possess anti-inflammatory properties. Inhaled corticosteroids, antioxidants, nutritional supplements, and protease inhibitors have a limited impact on the disease. Adverse effects limit therapy with oral corticosteroids and ibuprofen. Azithromycin appears to be safe and effective, and is thus the most promising anti-inflammatory therapy available for patients with CF. Pharmacologic therapy with anti-inflammatory agents should be started early in the disease course, before extensive irreversible lung damage has occurred. To optimize anti-inflammatory therapy, it is necessary to understand the mechanism of action of these agents in the CF lung, to determine which of these agents would provide the most benefit to patients with CF, and to determine which therapies should be initiated at what age or stage of lung disease.