Cystic Fibrosis Home > Pulmozyme

Pulmozyme is often 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 to become thick. As a result, lung function is improved. Side effects of Pulmozyme include voice changes, sore throat, and runny nose.

What Is Pulmozyme?

Pulmozyme® (dornase alfa) is a prescription medication used to improve lung function in people with cystic fibrosis (CF).
 
(Click Pulmozyme Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)
 

Who Makes Pulmozyme?

The medication is made by Genentech, Inc.
 

How Does It Work?

Pulmozyme 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.
 
Pulmozyme 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.
 

Effects

In studies, Pulmozyme decreased the risk of lung infections that required treatment with IV antibiotics by up to 29 percent. It also improved lung function, as measured by breathing tests. Studies suggest that the drug is more effective in younger people and is less effective in people with poor lung function.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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