Original Article| Volume 22, ISSUE 1, P103-111, January 2023

Prevalence, trends and outcomes of long-term inhaled antibiotic treatment in people with cystic fibrosis without chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection – A European cystic fibrosis patient registry data analysis

Published:August 28, 2022DOI:


      • We searched the ECFS-PR for inhaled antibiotic use in pwCF without PA infection.
      • 30% of pwCF not chronically PA infected were treated with inhaled antibiotics.
      • The major determinant of inhaled antibiotic use is past chronic infection with PA.
      • Over follow up, no benefit has been seen for treatment with inhaled antibiotics.
      • Randomized trials of inhaled antibiotics in pwCF without PA infection are needed.



      Long-term treatment with inhaled antibiotics is recommended for people with cystic fibrosis (pwCF) chronically infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA). However, pwCF without chronic PA infection are also commonly treated with inhaled antibiotics. Using data from the European Cystic Fibrosis Patient Registry (ECFSPR) we aimed to determine the prevalence and factors associated with inhaled antibiotic treatment in pwCF without chronic PA infection, and long-term outcomes with inhaled antibiotics use.


      The ECFSPR was searched for pwCF 6 years of age and older who were not chronically infected with PA at baseline. Factors associated with inhaled antibiotic use were first assessed through a logistic regression. From this model a propensity score was computed for each individual, providing the likelihood of being treated with inhaled antibiotics. Long-term outcomes with and without inhaled antibiotics were assessed separately for propensity scores tertiles.


      7210 pwCF without chronic PA infection at baseline were included, with 2722 (37.75%) receiving long-term treatment with inhaled antibiotics. Treatment with inhaled antibiotics was more prevalent with severe genotype, diabetes, pancreatic insufficiency, and past infection with chronic PA (OR 3.8, 95% CI, 2.88–5.04). Treatment with inhaled antibiotics was not associated with a reduced risk for acquisition of PA or other resistant pathogens, or with improved lung function decline, mortality, or transplantation.


      Many pwCF without chronic PA infection are receiving long-term treatment with inhaled antibiotics despite lack of support from clinical trials or practice guidelines. We did not observe improve outcomes with inhaled antibiotics. Our findings suggest controlled studies evaluating specific inhaled antibiotic regimens targeting specific pathogens or indications be performed to determine their effect.

      Graphical abstract

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