Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition that affects the lungs and other organs, and it usually starts in infancy. Children with cystic fibrosis have a lot of inflammation in their lungs, which can lead to lung damage and breathing difficulties. Doctors have been looking for ways to reduce this inflammation and prevent lung damage in these children.
A clinical trial was conducted to see if giving azithromycin, an antibiotic, three times a week to infants with cystic fibrosis from diagnosis until age 36 months would reduce lung damage. The trial was done at eight pediatric cystic fibrosis centers in Australia and New Zealand.
The trial included 130 infants with cystic fibrosis who were between 3 and 6 months old. They were randomly assigned to receive azithromycin or a placebo until they were 36 months old. The researchers looked at two primary outcomes: the proportion of children with bronchiectasis and the percentage of total lung volume affected by the disease. Secondary outcomes included clinical symptoms, hospitalizations, and inflammatory markers.
The results of the study showed that azithromycin did not reduce the extent of structural lung disease at 36 months of age, but it did reduce airway inflammation and some clinical symptoms associated with cystic fibrosis. Azithromycin was found to be a strategy that could be considered for the routine early management of pediatric patients with cystic fibrosis.
The trial showed that azithromycin did not reduce the proportion of children with bronchiectasis or the percentage of total lung volume affected by the disease. However, it did reduce the number of days in the hospital for pulmonary exacerbations (when breathing difficulties become worse) and the number of courses of antibiotics needed. Azithromycin also lowered the concentration of airway inflammation markers, including interleukin-8 and neutrophil elastase activity, at 36 months.