How is ALS Treated? 

No cure has been found for ALS yet. Despite this, there are treatment options that can help slow down ALS progress, control symptoms, prevent complications, and allow patients to feel more comfortable and independent, making it easier to live with the disease.

In most cases, those diagnosed with ALS will require a team of doctors trained in many areas, as well as other health care professionals. These teams will design an individualized treatment plan for the affected. These treatment plans may include medications. There are currently two types of medication that have been approved by the FDA to help treat ALS:

  • Riluzole (Rilutek): This drug is believed to reduce damage to motor neurons, slowing down the progressing in some people, by lowering levels of glutamate that is often present in higher concentrations in people with ALS. Riluzole has been shown to prolong survival by a few months but does not reverse the damage already done to motor neurons.
  • Edaravone (Radicava): This drug has been shown to reduce the decline in the daily functioning that is associated with ALS.

Side Effect Management Medications

A patient’s doctor may also prescribe medication that helps provide relief from other symptoms, like:

  • Muscle cramps and spasms
  • Spasticity
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Excessive salivation and phlegm
  • Pain
  • Depression
  • Sleep problems

 

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