The most important clinical problem for people with cystic fibrosis (CF) is inflammation of their lungs. The inflammation then plays a role in further damaging the tissues. Consequently, people have wondered whether giving non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to patients with CF will reduce lung inflammation.
This updated Cochrane Review supports the intriguing suggestion that long-term high-dose ibuprofen slows the rate of decline in lung function in children when treatment is started under the age of 13.
The Review now includes new data from a large Canadian multi-centre study, which doubled the number of participants that the researchers could analyse, and in particular, added a large number of children. "The results now show that high-dose ibuprofen may slow down the rate at which the lung function of a child with CF deteriorates. By slowing the rate of deterioration, high-dose ibuprofen can contribute to longer and healthier lives for children with Cystic Fibrosis," said lead researcher Dr Larry Lands, who works in the Department of Pediatrics at Montreal Children's Hospital.
"High-dose ibuprofen, a relatively inexpensive treatment, requires medical supervision, but is generally well-tolerated. Further work is ongoing in my laboratory on the mechanisms of action of high-dose ibuprofen, so that more targeted and potent therapies can be developed," said Lands.
The long-term effects of prolonged use of high doses of NSAIDs have yet to be determined. This treatment is not currently recommended for routine use and patients receiving the therapy should do so under the supervision of a specialist CF Centre. However, future research could lead to real improvements in patients' lives.