Cochrane reviewers report, “no clear evidence exists on the best psychological interventions to help people with cystic fibrosis.”

First, the details.

  • The reviewers identified 13 studies of 529 participants.
  • Treatments included the following.
    • Gene pre-test education counseling for relatives of those with cystic fibrosis
    • Biofeedback, massage and music therapy to assist physiotherapy
    • Behavioral and educational interventions to improve diet and airway clearance
    • Self-administration of medication and education to promote independence, knowledge and quality of life
    • Systemic interventions promoting psychosocial functioning

And, the results.

  • There was no consistent effect on lung function, although one small study reported biofeedback-assisted breathing re-training helped improve some lung function measurements.
  • There’s some evidence that relatives accept genetic testing for carrier status using home-based information leaflets and testing.
  • Some evidence that behavioral therapy improves emotional outcomes in people with cystic fibrosis and their caregivers.
  • Psychoeducational treatment improves knowledge in the short term.
  • It also appears that educational and behavioral treatments can aid nutrition and growth.

The bottom line?
10 years ago, the life expectancy of a person with cystic fibrosis was about 18 years. Today it’s 35 years.

As people with cystic fibrosis survive longer, there’s a need to identify treatments to help them meet their needs and improve long-term management. The treatments reviewed here are largely concerned with those issues.

Obviously, more work in this area is needed.

7/26/08 19:40 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.