Tuesday, 29. September 2009

Independent network of scientists confirms the efficacy of hypertonic saline for cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis patients produce mucus in their airways that is difficult to clear. This often leads to infections and damage to the lungs.

To clear this mucus chest physiotherapy and drugs are applied. Inhaled hypertonic saline (with a percentage of salt from 3 to 7%) has been increasingly used for this purpose during the past few years. Scientists from the Cochrane Collaboration have now published a systematic review, which summarises and evaluates all existing results of clinical studies with inhaled hypertonic saline in cystic fibrosis. 12 clinical trials were on hand for the authors and they conclude: there is now sufficient evidence to recommend the routine use of hypertonic saline in cystic fibrosis as this therapy is linked to less exacerbations and improved quality of life. There are generally few adverse events – however as a precaution a bronchodilator should be taken before the inhalation of hypertonic saline.

Hypertonic saline is on the market as convenient and safe single dose ampoules. MucoClear 6% is available on prescription in the United Kingdom since 2008.

The Cochrane Collaboration is an international network of scientists and physicians. The main purpose of this non-profit organisation is to develop substantiated scientific evidence that can work as decision guidance in the health care system.

Source: Wark P, McDonald VM. Nebulised hypertonic saline for cystic fibrosis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD001506