There is currently no cure for cystic fibrosis. However, patients with CF need ongoing medical care. Your UNM’s Cystic Fibrosis Center team will help you build an effective treatment plan. 

The UNM team consists of specialized pulmonologists, nurses, respiratory therapists and more. Here, you can also access the latest in CF treatments through clinical trials.

Medication Treatments

Antibiotics are the primary treatment for CF-related lung problems. They treat airway infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis. Anti-inflammatory medication, such as inhaled or oral steroids and ibuprofen, can help relax the airways.

Bronchodilators are inhaled drugs that relax the muscles around the airways. These, coupled with chest physical therapy, help loosen and clear mucus.

Mucus-thinning drugs reduce the stickiness of mucus in your airways. These include human DNase, which loosens the mucus in your lungs and hypertonic saline—a solution of salty water to clear out mucus.

If you suffer from digestive problems caused by CF, you may benefit from enemas, medications to reduce stomach acid or nutritional therapy.

Breathing Techniques

A respiratory therapist can teach you breathing techniques to help clear your lungs and open your airways. These include:

  • Active cycle breathing (ACB)—deep breathing exercises that can loosen the mucus in your lungs and help open your airways
  • At-home treatments—including the huff cough and chest physical therapy
  • Forced expiration technique—involves forcing out a couple of breaths or huffs and then relaxing your breathing

Healthy Lifestyle Choices

It’s important to make healthy choices to reduce your symptoms. This includes:

  • Avoiding tobacco smoke
  • Doing daily chest physical therapy
  • Drinking lots of water
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Frequent hand washing to reduce the risk of infection
  • Getting daily exercise