Self-reported alcohol use in the cystic fibrosis community

Erin M. Lowery, Majid Afshar, Natalie West, Elizabeth J. Kovacs, Beth Smith, Cara Joyce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Excessive alcohol use (EAU), a harmful pattern of drinking that includes binge drinking and heavy use, occurs in 25% (binge) and 6% (heavy use) of the US population, respectively. Little is known about alcohol use in individuals with cystic fibrosis (CF). The objective of this investigation is to examine alcohol consumption patterns in individuals with CF using a health survey administered from a social media platform. Methods: Individuals with CF, 18 years of age or older, were recruited for participation through social media and internet-based platforms. Results: 1135 individuals initially participated in the survey and 84% (n = 952) were eligible and completed the survey. Of the respondents, 77% (n = 729) currently consume alcohol, 18% (n = 171) formerly consumed alcohol, and 5% (n = 52) never consumed alcohol. Amongst the people with CF who currently consume alcohol, 54% (N = 391) met criteria for EAU. Thirty percent of current drinkers experienced symptoms of harmful alcohol use. Of those who met criteria for EAU, 7% wore oxygen, 6% had a lung transplant, 10% had liver disease and 32% had diabetes. Those with EAU reported more hospitalizations than those without EAU [244 (62%) vs 182 (54%), p =.034]. Characteristics associated with EAU after multivariable adjustment included younger age, unmarried status, male gender and younger age at initiation of drinking. Conclusion: EAU is occurring at a much higher proportion in individuals with CF. A substantial percentage of CF individuals with EAU also have medical co-morbidities. Screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment for EAU in CF clinics is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-90
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cystic Fibrosis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Alcohol
  • Binge pattern drinking
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Excessive alcohol use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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