Dornase alfa is typically prescribed to help improve lung function in people with cystic fibrosis. It is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring human enzyme called deoxyribonuclease I. The drug works by breaking down the extra DNA that often causes sputum (mucus) to become thick. As a result, lung function is improved. Side effects of dornase alfa include sore throat, runny nose, and chest pain.
What Is Dornase Alfa?Dornase alfa (Pulmozyme®) is a prescription medication used to improve lung function in people with cystic fibrosis (CF).
How Does Dornase Alfa Work?Dornase alfa is a manufactured version of a naturally occurring human enzyme called deoxyribonuclease I. This enzyme breaks down deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), particularly DNA found outside of cells. Research has shown that the fluid in the airways of people with cystic fibrosis has too much DNA, usually caused by the breakdown of cells that are fighting lung infections. This DNA causes the lung secretions (known as sputum) to become more thick, causing breathing problems with the infections. This becomes a problematic cycle, with infections causing more DNA, and more DNA causing more infections.
Dornase alfa works by breaking down this extra DNA, helping to thin the sputum. This, in turn, helps to improve lung function and decrease the risk of lung infections.