alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor, Prolastin-C

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

Understanding COPD

GENERIC NAME: alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor

BRAND NAME: Prolastin-C

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor (Prolastin-C) is a prescription medicine used to treat alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency. AAT deficiency is a genetic disorder in which abnormally low levels of the protein AAT allow certain enzymes to attack healthy tissues, especially the lungs. Over time, significant lung damage occurs, and patients develop serious lung diseases like emphysema.

Alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor contains AAT donated by human subjects. AAT is derived from the plasma, the fluid part of the blood, of healthy human donors. Prolastin-C is a new formulation of Prolastin, the original alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor that has been available since 1988. Prolastin-C is a more purified and concentrated formulation that can be infused over a shorter period of time. When administered at the recommended rate, Prolastin-C can be infused in approximately 15 minutes. Additionally, unlike Prolastin, Prolastin-C does not contain prions, the infectious agent that causes mad cow disease or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. However, as alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor is derived from human plasma, it carries the potential risk of transmitting other infectious agents like viruses.

There is no cure for AAT deficiency but alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor can help patients manage their condition. Alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor works in the lower respiratory tract where it inhibits neutrophil elastase (NE), the enzyme that damages lung tissue. In clinical trials, alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor therapy increased the plasma levels of AAT. The effects of augmentation therapy on lung symptoms and disease progression have yet to be proven in well-controlled clinical trials.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor is a prescription medicine used to treat alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency, a genetic disorder in which low levels of AAT allows certain enzymes to attack healthy tissues in the body, especially the lungs. It is approved for the long term treatment of adults with clinically evident emphysema (a type of serious lung disease) caused by severe AAT deficiency. Alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor is used to replace AAT in the blood and lungs, and hence is known as “augmentation therapy” or “replacement therapy.”

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/20/2015

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