CF sufferers get more freedom to 'enjoy life'
LIKE many cystic fibrosis sufferers, Tomas Thompson spends hours each day undergoing treatment, sterilising equipment and popping up to 100 tablets.
But the 33-year-old Galway man is about to switch from his old treatment method through a bulky nebuliser machine to a pocket-size portable inhaler, which can deliver the treatment in six minutes.
"You can take it to work, school, or college. It will give people more time to get out there and enjoy life," Mr Thompson said.
It is estimated the new technology, which only needs a wipe down after use, will save a patient around 28 minutes a day compared with using a nebuliser, which delivers the treatment through a face mask, has to be plugged into an electricity socket and also has to be frequently disinfected.
The new 'TOBI Podhaler' which looks similar to asthma inhalers, was launched yesterday in Ireland and several other European countries.
On a "normal day", it would take hours of Mr Thompson's time to administer the antibiotic treatment to suppress the risk of chronic lung infection as the nebuliser machine takes 20 minutes each time it is used throughout the day.
However, Tomas will continue to take dozens of tablets for problems linked to the incurable disease, such as poor digestion.
Professor Charles G Gallagher from the National Referral Centre for Adult CF at St Vincent's University Hospital, said most people with CF spent more than two hours a day taking their treatment.
"People can take the medication in a very short period of time. It is a huge improvement from the past," he said.
Philip Watt, chief executive of the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland, said the time saved by those deemed suitable was "significant".
Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease which clogs the lungs and digestive system with thick mucus, making it hard for the person to breathe or digest food.