Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common autosomal recessive disease in Caucasians associated with early death. Although the faulty gene is expressed in epithelia throughout the body, lung disease is still responsible for most of the morbidity and mortality of CF patients. As a local delivery route, pulmonary administration represents an ideal way to treat respiratory infections, excessive inflammation and other manifestations typical of CF lung disease. Nonetheless, important determinants of the clinical outcomes of inhaled drugs are the concentration/permanence at the lungs as well as the ability of the drug to overcome local extracellular and cellular barriers. This review focuses on emerging delivery strategies used for local treatment of CF pulmonary disease. After a brief description of the disease and formulation rules dictated by CF lung barriers, it describes current and future trends in inhaled drugs for CF. The most promising advanced formulations are discussed, highlighting the advantages along with the major challenges for researchers working in this field.
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