Specific therapy has been available for Alpha-1 since 1987: a class of medicine called augmentation therapy. This medicine replaces the alpha-1 antitrypsin protein in the blood with normal alpha-1 antitrypsin from healthy plasma donors, and it is given in a vein. The dose is adjusted based on body weight, and this treatment is often given once a week. There are three brands of augmentation therapy. They include:
Lung transplants or lung reduction surgery may be an option for people severely affected by Alpha-1.
In addition to medicines, the management of Alpha-1 includes:
- Exercise and a healthy lifestyle including giving up smoking,
- Avoidance of infection ,
- Oxygen therapy,
- Breathing Retraining,
- Techniques to bring up mucus and
- Pulmonary rehabilitation.
Giving up smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke. This is particularly important to managing Alpha-1. Smoking can accelerate or speed the development of the Alpha-1 related emphysema and shorten the lifespan.