Alpha-1 Lung Disease: Treatment Make an Appointment Refer a Patient Ask a Question Reviewed by Karina A. Serban, MD, Robert A. Sandhaus, MD, PhD, FCCP (November 01, 2017) Treatment of Alpha-1 is important and includes: Medications People with Alpha-1 may live long, healthy lives without ever getting lung or liver problems from their Alpha-1. For those who develop emphysema or COPD, treatment starts with the same medications and therapies used for those who get COPD without Alpha-1. The medications include: Inhaled bronchodilators Combination medication Inhaled corticosteroids Medication to prevent COPD flare-ups In addition, specific therapy has been available for Alpha-1 lung disease since 1987, a class of medicine called augmentation therapy. This medication augments the alpha-1 antitrypsin protein in the blood with normal alpha-1 antitrypsin from healthy plasma donors and is infused into an arm vein. The dose is adjusted based on body weight, and this treatment is given once a week. This therapy does not help people with liver disease due to Alpha-1. There are currently four brands of augmentation therapy approved in the U.S. They include: Prolastin® AralastTM Zemaira® Glassia® In addition to medications, Alpha-1 lung disease treatment includes: Avoiding infection Oxygen therapy for those with oxygen saturation levels below 89% Breathing Retraining Techniques to bring up mucus Pulmonary rehabilitation Surgery is a treatment option for Alpha-1, depending on the type and severity of disease. This could include: Lung transplant Lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) although often people with Alpha-1 lung disease are not good candidates for surgical lung volume reduction surgery. Liver transplantation may be an option for people severely affected by Alpha-1 liver disease. Healthy Lifestyle A healthy lifestyle is important for everyone, including people with Alpha-1 and their caregivers: A healthy lifestyle includes: Regular exercise Giving up smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke. This is important in managing Alpha-1. Smoking can accelerate or speed the development of Alpha-1 related emphysema and shorten lifespan. Healthy eating Remember, people with Alpha-1 can live al full life. Alpha-1 Lung Disease: Symptoms & Associated Conditions Clinical Trials For more than 100 years, National Jewish Health has been committed to finding new treatments and cures for diseases. Search our clinical trials.