Leila Cruikshank

Pulmozyme® (Dornase alfa)

Why is this medication prescribed?
Pulmozyme® is used in cystic fibrosis to make your sputum thinner. The sputum of people with cystic fibrosis can get thicker when cells that normally fight lung infections get trapped and break down. This breakdown of cells causes there to be extra deoxyribonucleic acid (also known as extracellular DNA) in the sputum, making it extra thick.

How does this medication work?
Pulmozyme® works by breaking down DNA in the sputum, thus making sputum less thick. With proper chest physiotherapy, sputum can be cleared more easily.

What is the usual dose?
Pulmozyme® is packaged with 6 ampoules per foil pouch. Each ampoule is 2.5mL. The usual dose for adults is 2.5mg (1 ampoule of 2.5mL) daily.

How should this medication be taken?
Take Pulmozyme® at approximately the same time everyday so that it is easier to remember. It should be taken before physiotherapy session or activity. Do not take it in the evening before bed.

To prepare your dose of Pulmozyme®, refer to Preparing Your Treatment, and Taking Your Treatment and:

1. Gently separate one ampoule and store the remainder in the foil pouch in the refrigerator.

2. Open the Pulmozyme® ampoule by holding the bottom tab with one hand and twisting off the top of the ampoule with the other hand. Be careful not to squeeze the ampoule until you are ready to empty its contents into the nebulizer cup.

3. Squeeze all the contents of the ampoule into your nebulizer.

If you are taking other inhaled medication(s), please take them in this order.

Note: DO NOT dilute or mix Pulmozyme® with other medications.  Pulmozyme® must be stored in the REFRIGERATOR and protected from strong light. DO NOT freeze. It should be kept refrigerated during transport. Pulmozyme® solution should be discarded if it is cloudy or discolored. It does not contain preservatives and, once opened, the entire contents of the ampoule must be used or discarded.

After use, rinse your nebulizer well with warm water before your next treatment to prevent build up that can clog your nebulizer. For more thorough cleaning, see Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Equipment

What should I do if I miss a dose?
IF you miss a dose take it as soon as you remember but DO NOT double up or take extra doses of your Pulmozyme® to make up for the missed one! If it is late in the day, and you don’t plan to do anymore physiotherapy, skip that dose and take your dose the next day at the regular time.

What should I expect from this medication?
You may or may not experience side effects. These side effects may disappear but let your doctor know if they are severe or if they persist for more than 2 days. These include hoarseness, voice changes, chest tightness, wheezing, rash, increased cough, or sore throat, but tell us if you have any other side effects as well!

To minimize these side effects, Ventolin® can be taken before your Pulmozyme® dose.

Remember to tell your doctor if you have ever had a reaction to Pulmozyme® or any other inhaled medication in the past.

If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, discuss this with your CF doctor before starting Pulmozyme®.

Patient Assistance Program

Roche has an assistance program called the Pulmozyme EasySTART. For more information and to see if you are eligible, click here. You can also ask your social worker, pharmacist or doctor if you have further questions.