British Lung Foundation
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bronchiectasis and antitrypsin

hi. Its me again. Been doing some research into bronchiectasis. Read (but understanded only a little) a bout something called antitrypsin. This apparently interferes with the inflammatory process and can lead to lung conditions.

The reason I am interested is that I have been taking Amitriptyline for years ( this is an antidepressant but It also controls pain and I have migranes).

Trying to find out if anyone else is taking this medication. Willl continue to research this and may ask my doctor to change my mediction.

6 Replies

antitripsyn is not a drug. It is a substance which the body naturally coats the lungs with when there is an infection. This prevents the proteins which rush to destroy the virus or bacteria from also destroying lung tissue. There is a genetic condition call A1A Antitrypsin deficiency. The body fails to coat the lungs with antitrypsin and the they are damaged during infections. This can lead to various lung conditions including bronchiectasis. There are studies going on around the world. About one sixth of the population have the gene and one thing which carriers should not do is smoke because their lungs succumb to the damage even quicker than those without the gene. Forgive me for suggesting that you stay away from Dr Google. He can mislead and frighten you unnecessarily. I hope that helps.


I take Amitriptyline daily for migranes. I am trying to see if this medication can affect levels of antitrypsin. Would deficiency show up in routine bllods?


you need to ask your GP. I have never heard of any drugs affecting its production. lack of it is a genetic condition.


Hi FC, I think what's happened here is that you are maybe confusing the two words. It's an easy mistake to make because they sound very similar.

I take a small dose of Amitriptyline, morning and evening because studies with people with CF, showed an improvement. I can't explain why - I've forgotten but there is a study I read that explains it. So far from damaging your lungs, Amitriptyline will probably help them. And if not, if will help with your migraines anyway.


There is a genetic condition known as the Alpha-1 anti-trypsin deficiency: it is very rare in the UK but has a devastating effect on the lungs of people who have the condition. It is responsible for emphysema and rapid deterioration of the lungs. Don't confuse it with analgesics!



Hi falconcottage, I too take Amitriptyline, mainly for nerve pain in my spine due to arthritis. This does not interfere with my breathing, the only down side is, like Azithromycin it can cause hearing problems. As it is so helpful with my back pain I will put up with the tinnitus. ditto with Azith. Take care and talk with your doc is you are concerned. Maximonkey


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