How Do Other Pulmonary Drugs Work?

Reviewed on 10/22/2021

How do other pulmonary drugs work?

Other pulmonary drugs are medications that are not categorized into any of the specific classes of pulmonary drugs. Each of the other pulmonary drugs works in unique ways and is used in the treatment and diagnosis of diverse pulmonary conditions.

The medications that are grouped under other pulmonary drugs include:

  • Acetylcysteine: Acetylcysteine, also known as N-acetylcysteine, is a mucolytic agent which breaks up the proteins in the mucus and reduces its viscosity, making it easier to cough up and clear from the lungs. Acetylcysteine also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  • Alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor: Alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor is a purified substance derived from human plasma. Alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor works by inhibiting neutrophil elastase, an enzyme produced by immune cells known as neutrophils, which breaks down elastic tissue in the lungs and stimulates the secretion of mucus.
  • Mannitol inhalation: The precise mechanism of mannitol is not known. Mannitol is an osmotic agent and it is thought to work by drawing water from the lung cells into the airway, which rehydrates and thins the mucus, and facilitates its clearance from the lungs.
  • Nitric oxide gas: Inhaled nitric oxide gas relaxes the smooth muscles of pulmonary blood vessels and dilates them, reducing pulmonary hypertension and improving blood flow to the lungs.


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What are the uses of other pulmonary drugs?

Other pulmonary drugs may be administered through the following routes:

  • Oral inhalations as powders or solutions nebulized into a fine mist
  • Intravenous (IV) infusions
  • Ventilators

The uses of other pulmonary drugs include the following:




Orphan designation

Alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor


Orphan designation

Mannitol inhalation


  • Bronchial hyperresponsiveness assessment
  • Cystic fibrosis

Nitric oxide gas


Orphan designation


  • Prevention of chronic lung disease in premature newborns
  • Cystic fibrosis


What are side effects of other pulmonary drugs?

Side effects of other pulmonary drugs vary with each type of drug. A few of the most common side effects include:

Information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.

What are names of some of the other pulmonary drugs?

Generic and brand names of some of the other pulmonary drugs include:


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