Inhaled mannitol for cystic fibrosis.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 05 01; 5:CD008649.CD
Several agents are used to clear secretions from the airways of people with cystic fibrosis. Mannitol increases mucociliary clearance, but its exact mechanism of action is unknown. The dry powder formulation of mannitol may be more convenient and easier to use compared with established agents which require delivery via a nebuliser. Phase III trials of inhaled dry powder mannitol for the treatment of cystic fibrosis have been completed and it is now available in Australia and some countries in Europe. This is an update of a previous review.
To assess whether inhaled dry powder mannitol is well tolerated, whether it improves the quality of life and respiratory function in people with cystic fibrosis and which adverse events are associated with the treatment.
We searched the Cochrane Cystic Fibrosis and Genetic Disorders Group Trials Register which comprises references identified from comprehensive electronic databases, handsearching relevant journals and abstracts from conferences. Date of last search: 12 December 2019.
All randomised controlled studies comparing mannitol with placebo, active inhaled comparators (for example, hypertonic saline or dornase alfa) or with no treatment.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
Authors independently assessed studies for inclusion, carried out data extraction and assessed the risk of bias in included studies. The quality of the evidence was assessed using GRADE.
Six studies (reported in 36 unique publications) were included with a total of 784 participants. Duration of treatment in the included studies ranged from 12 days to six months, with open-label treatment for an additional six months in two of the studies. Five studies compared mannitol with control (a very low dose of mannitol or non-respirable mannitol) and the final study compared mannitol to dornase alfa alone and to mannitol plus dornase alfa. Two large studies had a similar parallel design and provided data for 600 participants, which could be pooled where data for a particular outcome and time point were available. The remaining studies had much smaller sample sizes (ranging from 22 to 95) and data could not be pooled due to differences in design, interventions and population. Pooled evidence from the two large parallel studies was judged to be of low to moderate quality and from the smaller studies was judged to be of low to very low quality. In all studies, there was an initial test to see if participants tolerated mannitol, with only those who could tolerate the drug being randomised; therefore, the study results are not applicable to the cystic fibrosis population as a whole. While the published papers did not provide all the data required for our analysis, additional unpublished data were provided by the drug's manufacturer and the author of one of the studies. Pooling the large parallel studies comparing mannitol to control, up to and including six months, lung function (forced expiratory volume at one second) measured in both mL and % predicted was significantly improved in the mannitol group compared to the control group (moderate-quality evidence). Beneficial results were observed in these studies in adults and in both concomitant dornase alfa users and non-users in these studies. In the smaller studies, statistically significant improvements in lung function were also observed in the mannitol groups compared to the non-respirable mannitol groups; however, we judged this evidence to be of low to very low quality. For the comparisons of mannitol and control, we found no consistent differences in health-related quality of life in any of the domains except for burden of treatment, which was less for mannitol up to four months in the two pooled studies of a similar design; this difference was not maintained at six months. It should be noted that the tool used to measure health-related quality of life was not designed to assess mucolytics and pooling of the age-appropriate tools (as done in some of the included studies) may not be valid so results were judged to be low to very low quality and should be interpreted with caution. Cough, haemoptysis, bronchospasm, pharyngolaryngeal pain and post-tussive vomiting were the most commonly reported side effects in both treatment groups. Where rates of adverse events could be compared, statistically no significant differences were found between mannitol and control groups; although some of these events may have clinical relevance for people with CF. For the comparisons of mannitol to dornase alfa alone and to mannitol plus dornase alfa, very low-quality evidence from a 12-week cross-over study of 28 participants showed no statistically significant differences in the recorded domains of health-related quality of life or measures of lung function. Cough was the most common side effect in the mannitol alone arm but there was no occurrence of cough in the dornase alfa alone arm and the most commonly reported reason of withdrawal from the mannitol plus dornase alfa arm was pulmonary exacerbations. In terms of secondary outcomes of the review (pulmonary exacerbations, hospitalisations, symptoms, sputum microbiology), evidence provided by the included studies was more limited. For all comparisons, no consistent statistically significant and clinically meaningful differences were observed between mannitol and control treatments (including dornase alfa).