Twenty-seven patients with cystic fibrosis completed a controlled trial comparing the effects of an inhaled mucolytic drug, sodium-2-mercaptoethane sulphonate (Mistabron, UCB Pharmaceutical Division, Brussels, Belgium), with inhaled iso-osmolar hypertonic saline. As a group the 22 patients with chronic sputum production showed small but statistically significant improvement in pulmonary function tests after Mistabron therapy, both when compared with a control period, and with iso-osmolar saline results. Subjective measurements by diary card failed to show any changes. No significant changes were found in five patients with no measurable sputum production. The inhalations were given after physiotherapy and were well tolerated. There were no significant side effects. The results suggest that Mistabron has a beneficial therapeutic effect unrelated to its high osmolality, and the intermittent inhalation of Mistabron may have a role in the treatment of selected patients with cystic fibrosis.
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