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Acid-Reducing Drug Helps Kill Bacteria in the Mucus of Cystic Fibrosis Patients

Posted on June 3, 2016 by Disability Help Group

A hallmark of cystic fibrosis (CF) is the buildup of mucus, severe cases of which can block airways and cause respiratory distress. Mucus is a catchall when it coats the esophagus and stomach, making it the perfect medium to trap and harbor bacteria. However, this bacteria often leads to infections, which can progress to lung damage and respiratory failure.

The majority of current CF research looks at how to reduce the mucus production and buildup, but one study may have found a way to reduce the risk of infections. Researchers at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine published their findings in the JCI Insight medical journal. In the study, the researchers detailed how they found that tromethamine was effective in reducing acidity levels in the mucus of CF patients.

Tromethamine (Tham) is a drug commonly used to treat metabolic acidosis, a condition that causes too much acid in the body. When mucus builds up, it causes the surfaces of the throat, esophagus, and stomach to become too acidic and less likely to defend against bacteria. Tham reduces the acidity in the body, and when inhaled can raise the pH of the airway surface liquid that helps remove bacteria.

For the study, the researchers aerosolized Tham and delivered it as a breathable treatment to pigs with CF and mucus samples from human CF patients. The gaseous Tham raised the pH for two hours, increasing the bacterial removal. The team also looked at pairing Tham with hypertonic saline to help remove mucus without blocking other antimicrobial effects.

If You Cannot Work Due to Cystic Fibrosis, You May Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits

Because cystic fibrosis can cause lung damage, it can be impossible for those diagnosed to work later on in life. Disability Help Group helps disabled individuals file or appeal a claim for Social Security disability benefits. Contact us at 800-800-2009 to schedule a consultation with one of our disability advocates.