CFDB - Cystic Fibrosis DataBase

primary studies published RCT

Discontinuation versus continuation of hypertonic saline or dornase alfa in modulator treated people with cystic fibrosis (SIMPLIFY): results from two parallel, multicentre, open-label, randomised, controlled, non-inferiority trials.

Study design (if review, criteria of inclusion for studies)

The SIMPLIFY study included two parallel, multicentre, open-label, randomised, controlled, non-inferiority trials at 80 participating clinics across the USA in the Cystic Fibrosis Therapeutics Development Network.


Iindividuals with cystic fibrosis aged 12-17 years with percent predicted FEV(1) (ppFEV(1)) of 70% or more, or those aged 18 years or older with ppFEV(1) of 60% or more, if they had been taking ETI and either (or both) mucoactive therapies (≥3% hypertonic saline or dornase alfa) for at least 90 days before screening.


Participants on both hypertonic saline and dornase alfa were randomly assigned to one of the two trials, and those on a single therapy were assigned to the applicable trial. All participants were then randomly assigned 1:1 to continue or discontinue therapy for 6 weeks using permuted blocks of varying size, stratified by baseline ppFEV(1) (week 0; ≥90% or <90%), single or concurrent use of hypertonic saline and dornase alfa, previous SIMPLIFY study participation (yes or no), and age (≥18 or <18 years). For participants randomly assigned to continue their therapy during a given trial, this therapy was instructed to be taken at least once daily according to each participant's pre-existing, clinically prescribed regimen. Hypertonic saline concentration was required to be at least 3%.

Outcome measures

6-week change in ppFEV(1) in the per-protocol population. Non-inferiority margin: -3% for the difference between groups in the 6-week change in ppFEV(1). Safety outcomes were analysed in the intention-to-treat population.

Main results

From Aug 25, 2020, to May 25, 2022, a total of 672 unique participants were screened for eligibility for one or both trials, resulting in 847 total random assignments across both trials with 594 unique participants. 370 participants were randomly assigned in the hypertonic saline trial and 477 in the dornase alfa trial. Participants across both trials had an average ppFEV(1) of 96·9%. Discontinuing treatment was non-inferior to continuing treatment with respect to the absolute 6-week change in ppFEV(1) in both the hypertonic saline trial (-0·19% [95% CI -0·85 to 0·48] in the discontinuation group [n=133] vs 0·14% [-0·51 to 0·78] in the continuation group [n=140]; between-group difference -0·32% [-1·25 to 0·60]) and dornase alfa trial (0·18% [-0·38 to 0·74] in the discontinuation group [n=199] vs -0·16% [-0·73 to 0·41] in the continuation group [n=193]; between-group difference 0·35% [-0·45 to 1·14]), with consistent results in the intention-to-treat populations. In the hypertonic saline trial, 64 (35%) of 184 in the discontinuation group versus 44 (24%) of 186 participants in the continuation group and, in the dornase alfa trial, 89 (37%) of 240 in the discontinuation group versus 55 (23%) of 237 in the continuation group had at least one adverse event.

Authors' conclusions

In individuals with cystic fibrosis on ETI with relatively well preserved pulmonary function, discontinuing daily hypertonic saline or dornase alfa for 6 weeks did not result in clinically meaningful differences in pulmonary function when compared with continuing treatment.

Keywords: Adolescent; Child; Deoxyribonuclease; Drug Administration Schedule; Airway clearance drugs -expectorants- mucolytic- mucociliary-; hydration; Hypertonic Solutions; Inhalation OR nebulised; nebuliser; non pharmacological intervention - devices OR physiotherapy; pharmacological_intervention; Recombinant Proteins; Respiratory System Agents; Dornase alpha; Pulmozyme;