Three-drug combination improves life for cystic fibrosis patients

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A three-drug cocktail could be “life-changing” for patients with cystic fibrosis, researchers reported Thursday.

They found that adding a third drug to an existing combination of two drugs could improve the symptoms of cystic fibrosis patients, and might even help some of them live longer.

The big catch: the current drugs already cost around $300,000 a year and adding a third drug would likely boost that cost significantly.

Nonetheless, the findings are exciting for researchers who treat cystic fibrosis, a rare genetic disease that causes lung and digestive problems and shortens the lives of patients.

“These results represent a major breakthrough in cystic fibrosis therapeutics, with the potential for improving health and possibly survival in all patients who carry the most common CFTR mutation,” Dr. Fernando Holguin of the University of Colorado, who was not involved in the studies, said in a commentary published in the New England Journal of Medicine.