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Zemaira

Generic Name: alpha 1-proteinase inhibitor (AL fa 1-PRO tee nase in HIB i tor)
Brand Names: Aralast, Aralast NP, Glassia, Prolastin, Prolastin-C, Zemaira

Medically reviewed on June 6, 2018

What is Zemaira?

Zemaira contain the protein alpha 1-proteinase, also called alpha 1-antitrypsin. This protein occurs naturally in the body and is important for preventing the breakdown of tissues in the lungs.

In people who lack the alpha 1-antitrypsin protein, breakdown of lung tissues can lead to emphysema (damage to the air sacs in the lungs).

Zemaira is used to treat alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency in people who have symptoms of emphysema.

Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency is a genetic (inherited) disorder and Zemaira will not cure this condition.

Zemaira may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important information

You should not use Zemaira if you have ever had an allergic reaction to alpha 1-proteinase inhibitor, or if you have an IgA (immunoglobulin A) deficiency or antibody against IgA.

Zemaira must be mixed with a liquid (diluent) before given as an injection. If you are using the injections at home, be sure you understand how to properly prepare and store your medicine.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, mouth sores, pain or burning when you urinate, wheezing, chest pain or tightness, trouble breathing, or vision changes. Zemaira is made from human plasma (part of the blood) which may contain viruses and other infectious agents. Donated plasma is tested and treated to reduce the risk of it containing infectious agents, but there is still a small possibility it could transmit disease. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication.

Before using Zemaira

You should not use Zemaira if you have ever had an allergic reaction to alpha 1-proteinase inhibitor, or if you have an IgA (immunoglobulin A) deficiency or antibody against IgA.

To make sure you can safely use Zemaira, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • liver disease; or

  • asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or other breathing disorder.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Zemaira will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication. It is not known whether alpha 1-proteinase inhibitor passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. Alpha 1-proteinase inhibitor is made from human plasma (part of the blood) which may contain viruses and other infectious agents. Donated plasma is tested and treated to reduce the risk of it containing infectious agents, but there is still a small possibility it could transmit disease. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using Zemaira.

See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)

How should I use Zemaira?

Zemaira is injected into a vein through an IV. You may be shown how to use an IV at home. Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles, IV tubing, and other items used to inject the medicine.

Zemaira is usually given once per week. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.

You will most likely receive your first few doses of this medication in a hospital or clinic setting where your vital signs can be watched closely in case the medication causes serious side effects.

Zemaira is a powder form of alpha 1-proteinase inhibitor. Zemaira must be mixed with a liquid (diluent) before preparing your dose.

Do not shake the mixture or you may ruin the medicine. Prepare your dose in a syringe only when you are ready to give yourself an injection. Do not use the medication if it has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your doctor for a new prescription.

If you are using the injections at home, be sure you understand how to properly mix and store the medicine.

This medication comes with patient instructions for safe and effective use. Follow these directions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

Each single use vial (bottle) of this medicine is for one use only. Throw away after one use, even if there is still some medicine left in it after injecting your dose.

Store Zemaira at cool room temperature, away from moisture and heat. Do not freeze. The diluent bottle can break if it becomes frozen.

After mixing Zemaira powder with a diluent, you must use the mixture within 3 hours.

Do not use Zemaira after the expiration date on the medicine label has passed.

See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose of Zemaira.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Zemaira side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Zemaira: hives; wheezing, difficulty breathing; feeling like you might pass out; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using Zemaira and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, sores in your mouth and throat;

  • pain or burning when you urinate;

  • wheezing, chest pain or tightness, trouble breathing; or

  • vision changes.

Less serious Zemaira side effects may include:

  • nausea, bloating;

  • headache, dizziness, drowsiness;

  • feeling tired;

  • back pain, joint or muscle pain;

  • swelling in your hands or feet;

  • flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling);

  • cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough; or

  • mild itching.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Zemaira?

There may be other drugs that can interact with Zemaira. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Zemaira only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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