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How Is Alpha-1 Different From COPD?

Alpha-1 is sometimes called "genetic COPD." It can lead to COPD, but it isn't the same.

COPD is a group of two lung diseases: emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Each makes it hard to breathe. Most people get COPD from things that damage their lungs. Smoking is the most common cause.

 Up to 3% of all COPD cases are triggered by alpha-1.

  • People with alpha-1 tend to develop symptoms in their 30s and 40s.
  • People with COPD from other causes are more likely to get symptoms their 60s and 70s.

Can You Have Alpha-1 and Not Know It?

Without testing, you won't know you have it. And not everyone who has it has symptoms. Experts aren’t sure why.

If you have symptoms, your doctor should consider testing you. That's especially true if you had breathing problems at a young age or have a family history of them.

What Can You Expect?

Getting diagnosed with alpha-1 can be a shock. Avoiding things that can hurt the lungs, like cigarette smoke and air pollution, can sharply lower the odds for serious damage.

At its worst, the illness can make it hard to work or care for a family. It can shorten a person's life. Then again, it might not.

Once you know you have it, you can get treatment to stop it from getting worse. 

Campbell, who's in his late 60s, says he's grateful that he was diagnosed and that treatment is working well. As communications director for the Alpha-1 Foundation, he tries to reach the people struggling without a diagnosis -- the people who don’t know anything about the disease. Campbell was once one of them.

"If you have any symptoms, ruling out alpha-1 with a test should be a routine, just like doctors rule out other conditions," Campbell says.

Sandhaus has received funding for clinical studies from CSL Behring, AstraZeneca, Grifols, and Kamada.

is the cause of your copd genetic

Is the Cause of Your COPD Genetic?

Knowing if you have alpha-1 is the first step to getting help from your doctor. An alpha-1 blood test is the only way for you and your doctor to know whether you have alpha-1. And if you do, your doctor can discuss potential treatment options and testing for other family members.

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Important Safety Information

PROLASTIN®-C (alpha1-proteinase inhibitor [human]) is indicated for chronic augmentation and maintenance therapy in adults with clinically evident emphysema due to severe deficiency of alpha1-proteinase inhibitor (alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency).

The effect of augmentation therapy with any alpha1-proteinase inhibitor (alpha1-PI), including PROLASTIN-C, on pulmonary exacerbations and on the progression of emphysema in alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency has not been conclusively demonstrated in randomized, controlled clinical trials. Clinical data demonstrating the long-term effects of chronic augmentation or maintenance therapy with PROLASTIN-C are not available.

PROLASTIN-C is not indicated as therapy for lung disease in patients in whom severe alpha1-PI deficiency has not been established. PROLASTIN-C is contraindicated in IgA-deficient patients with antibodies against IgA due to risk of hypersensitivity.

Hypersensitivity reactions may occur. Should evidence of hypersensitivity reaction be observed, promptly stop infusion and begin appropriate therapy.

PROLASTIN-C may contain trace amounts of IgA. Patients with known antibodies to IgA, which can be present in patients with selective or severe IgA deficiency, have a greater risk of developing potentially severe hypersensitivity and anaphylactic reactions. PROLASTIN-C is contraindicated in patients with antibodies against IgA.

The most common drug-related adverse reaction observed at a rate of > 5% in subjects receiving PROLASTIN-C was upper respiratory tract infection. The most serious adverse reaction observed during clinical trials with PROLASTIN-C was an abdominal and extremity rash in 1 subject.

Because PROLASTIN-C is made from human plasma, it may carry a risk of transmitting infectious agents, eg, viruses and, theoretically, the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) agent.

Please see PROLASTIN-C full Prescribing Information for complete prescribing details.