In patients with cystic fibrosis thick viscous secretions, colonised by bacteria, accumulate in the respiratory tract and cause airway obstruction and recurrent exacerbations of infection. Standard treatment includes physiotherapy and antibiotics. Dornase alfa (Pulmozyme – Genentech/Roche) has recently been licensed in the UK for the longterm treatment of patients with cystic fibrosis aged over 5 years who have a forced vital capacity (FVC) greater than 40% of predicted. The manufacturer claims that dornase alfa, the first drug of its kind, produces ‘an improvement of pulmonary function’ and ‘a reduction in days requiring administration of parenteral antibiotics’.
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