Cough

Updated 16 January 2017

Dornase alfa

Dornase alfa is a mucolytic. Mucolytics are drugs that dissolve or break down mucus. This reduces the thickness of mucus and phlegm, making it easier to cough up.

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(Also known as desoxyribonuclease)

Dornase alfa is the active ingredient of Pulmozyne solution for inhalation (Nappi code: 814679-005).

General information

Dornase alfa is a mucolytic. Mucolytics are drugs that dissolve or break down mucus. This reduces the thickness of mucus and phlegm, making it easier to cough up.

In South Africa dornase alfa is registered for the treatment of Cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease involving a sticky buildup of mucus in the lungs, which makes breathing difficult and often leads to infections.

This medication does not cure the underlying condition, but simply keeps the symptoms under control. For it to be effective, it has to be taken regularly, even if you do not notice an immediate effect.

This drug is not intended for use in children under the age of 5 years.

The decision to stop using this medication should only be made by your doctor.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 3
Available as: dornase alfa is available as solution for inhalation.
What does it do? Dornase alfa dissolves or breaks down mucus in cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder where extra thick mucus is produced.
Is dornase alfa available as a generic? no
Is dornase alfa available on prescription only? yes

User information

Stopping this medicine: do not stop taking this drug without consulting your doctor.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have seriously impaired pulmonary function
  • you are taking any other medication

Pregnancy: avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before using this drug, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.
Breastfeeding: avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before use.
Porphyria: avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your condition. Consult your doctor before use.
Infants and children: this medication is not intended for use in children under the age of 5 years.

Possible side effects

Side Effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

 

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

voice changes

X

X

sore throat

X

X

eye irritation

X

X

chest pain

X

X

breathing difficulties

X

X

skin reactions - allergic

X

X

Interactions

Drug interactions
No known interactions.

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage

Patient older than 5 years: 2,5mg (2500 U) once daily.

(This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.)

 

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Cough Expert

Professor Keertan Dheda has received several prestigious awards including the 2014 Oppenheimer Award, and has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers and holds 3 patents related to new TB diagnostic or infection control technologies. He serves on the editorial board of the journals PLoS One, the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Medicine, Lancet Respiratory Diseases and Nature Scientific Reports, amongst others. Read his full biography at the University of Cape Town Lung Institute.

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