A new drug for the treatment of cystic fibrosis is expected to receive approval this month from the BC government for use in children from 6 to 11 years old.
The province approved Trikafta for ages 12 and older in October of 2021.
Cystic Fibrosis Canada says it has confirmed BC is now prepared to approve Trikafta for children as young as 6 years old.
Cystic fibrosis is a rare, life-threatening disease where thick mucus builds up in the lungs, digestive tract, and other parts of the body.
It causes severe respiratory and digestive problems as well as other complications such as infections and diabetes.
Kim Steele of Cystic Fibrosis Canada says BC is the only Canadian jurisdiction yet to provide access for children in that age range to what is being called a life changing drug.
Steele describes Trikafta as “the single greatest innovation in the history of cystic fibrosis.”
She says it’s often considered a lung disease, but actually creates thick sticky mucus throughout the body that people can’t clear, causing issues with the pancreas, lungs, and the liver.
According to Steel, Trikafta “corrects the mutation to the gene that causes cystic fibrosis, so rather than just treating the symptoms it treats the disease itself.”
She says slowing the progression of symptoms will improve the overall body health in recipients.
Kim Wood is a cystic fibrosis sufferer in Campbell River and recently celebrated a milestone she wasn’t certain that she would reach – her 40th birthday.
“I can’t tell you how excited I was when I discovered that I needed reading glasses, you know, I don’t know how many 40 year olds, that when they need reading glasses, are excited about that, but that is something that I feel very privileged to have to deal with.”
She first began taking Trikafta two years ago while it was being tested and was amazed by the difference it made.
Wood says after a few days of using the medication she was awe-struck.
“This is what it’s like to breathe so clearly and just completely unrestricted, it was like I could, I was taking a deep breath in and I just felt like I could go for ever and ever.”
She began to feel other changes as more oxygen reached other parts of her body.
“I started to not require as much sleep; because people with cystic fibrosis are constantly fighting lung infections they need so much extra sleep.”
Wood says her body was changing in so many positive ways it took her some time to fully realize all the physical improvements taking place.