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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Treatments

Treatment

There is currently no cure for ALS.

For you and your family, a multidisciplinary approach may work best. This approach may include:

  • Taking medications
  • Working with therapists and joining a support group
  • Participating in religious and social activities

Treatments options include:

Medications

The drug, called riluzole , has been approved for ALS with a clinical trial revealing a modest lengthening of survival. The drug may slightly improve functioning, but it doesn't stop the disease from progressing. A study, though, showed that the addition of lithium carbonate (a medication used to treat mood disorders) to riluzole may slow the progression of ALS and prolong survival. Other drugs are also being studied.

Your doctor may prescribe these medications for symptom

  • Diazepam (eg, Valium), baclofen (eg, Lioresal), or dantrolene —to reduce spasticity
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other pain medications
  • Atropine (eg, AtroPen), scopolamine (eg, Isopto), or antihistamine—to reduce heavy drooling
  • Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications

Other Types of Treatments

  • Physical therapy—This is used to reduce pain associated with muscle cramping and spasticity
  • Respiratory care—In some cases, you may need to receive a mixture of air and oxygen from a machine. If you cannot move enough air in and out of your lungs, you may need surgery to have a tube inserted into your airway.
  • Nutritional care—Your doctor may make changes to your diet. In some cases, getting nutrition through tube feeding is needed.
  • Speech therapy—Speech therapy may be used to optimize communication. Therapy can include exploring alternative methods of communication.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2019 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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