What Is Dornase Alfa Used For?

Dornase alfa is used for improving lung function and preventing infections in people with cystic fibrosis. The drug works by breaking down the DNA that causes secretions (sputum) to build up in the lungs. This improves lung function by making breathing easier. It has not been studied in children younger than five. Off-label dornase alfa uses include treating other lung-related problems that are also caused by mucus buildup.

What Is Dornase Alfa Used For? -- An Overview

Dornase alfa (Pulmozyme®) is a prescription medication used in the treatment of cystic fibrosis. It helps improve lung function and prevent lung infections in people with the disease.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disease affecting the mucous and sweat glands. While most people think of cystic fibrosis as a lung disease, it also affects the:
  • Pancreas
  • Liver
  • Intestines
  • Sinuses
  • Sex organs.
Normally, mucus is watery. It keeps the linings of certain organs moist and prevents them from drying out or getting infected. However, in cystic fibrosis, an abnormal gene causes mucus to become thick and sticky (see Cystic Fibrosis Gene and Causes of Cystic Fibrosis). The thick, sticky mucus builds up in the lungs and blocks the airways. This makes it easy for bacteria to grow and causes the following cystic fibrosis symptoms:
  • Frequent coughing that brings up thick sputum, or phlegm
  • Frequent bouts of bronchitis and pneumonia, which can lead to inflammation and permanent lung damage.
Treatment for cystic fibrosis often includes several of the following options:
  • Medications, including antibiotics to treat lung infections
  • Chest-related physical therapy
  • Exercise
  • Oxygen
  • Lung transplantation.
It is also important for people with cystic fibrosis to take good care of themselves in general (see Living With Cystic Fibrosis).

Dornase Alfa -- Cystic Fibrosis Medication

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