Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

COPD Health Center

Font Size

Treatments for AAT Deficiency

Other Treatments for AAT Deficiency

Drugs to help with breathing. For breathing problems, the treatments given for COPD can help. These may include inhaled drugs called bronchodilators that open up the airways. Steroids can reduce the swelling in the lungs.

Antibiotics. AAT deficiency makes it more likely that a simple cold can cause a lung infection. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to head off problems.

Vaccinations.  Protect yourself from dangerous infections that could make your symptoms worse. Get your flu, pneumococcal, and hepatitis shots.

Oxygen. Home and portable systems allow you to breathe extra oxygen.

Taking Charge of Your Health

Medical treatment isn't the only answer. There's a lot you can do on your own to improve your health. 

Make lifestyle changes. "If you have [AAT deficiency] and you smoke, quitting is the single most important change you need to make," Edelman says. Smoking can speed up the damage to your lungs. If you live with a smoker, do whatever you can to get them to stop. Limit exposure to dust, chemical fumes, and pollution, too.

Work with an expert. AAT deficiency often doesn't get diagnosed. "You might be your doctor's first case," Sandhaus says. "That happens pretty often." If you want a second opinion or different treatment options, look for an AAT deficiency expert.

Keep up-to-date. Treatment is changing. Sandhaus believes that within 5 years, you may be able to get augmentation therapy through an inhaler, instead of by IV. Studies of different drugs, gene therapy, and other cutting-edge techniques could change the course of the disease.

Speak up for yourself. If you have concerns about your medical care, share those with your doctor. If you think that you might have AAT deficiency, ask your doctor about that. You can discuss whether testing is a reasonable option, or whether something else might be causing your symptoms.  

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

1 | 2
Reviewed on May 03, 2013

Today on WebMD

man talking to his doctor
Check your COPD risk.
woman using inhaler
What is the top cause of this condition?
chest x-ray
7 early warning signs.
Senior couple stretching
10 exercises for people With COPD.
Bronchitis Overview
Senior woman blowing dandelion
Living With Copd
human lung graphic
Energy Boosting Foods
red heart and ekg
Living With Copd
Senior couple stretching