4 Treatments That Can Improve Life With ALS

Currently, there isn’t a treatment available to cure or reverse amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) but there are treatments available that can help improve quality of life for those living with the disease. According to the ALS Therapy Development Institute, these include:

Medications for symptoms
Medications can be used to address some of the symptoms associated with ALS (e.g., Mexiletine for muscle spasms, Botox for excessive salivation and Gilenya to help reduce neuroinflammation). There are many more drugs that are either awaiting FDA approval for the use in ALS patients or are in clinical trials. There are currently clinical trials testing a drug that may help protect motor neurons and keep patients’ muscles moving.

MORE: What research is being done on ALS?

Radicava
Radicava is a newly FDA-approved medication that’s been shown to slow down the progression of ALS by around one third. The drug is likely to be available to those living with ALS in the U.S. by August.

MORE: Nine things to know about Radicava

Management
Ongoing care and management by a multidisciplinary team can help make life more comfortable for people living with ALS. Physical and occupational therapy can help preserve muscle function for as long as possible and can reduce contractures. These types of therapies will also help patients better adapt to their changing circumstances.

Equipment
As the disease progresses, ALS patients will need to use breathing and feeding equipment, as well as electric wheelchairs. For those living with the disease, BiPAP machines can help breathing and improve sleep quality. Phrenic Pacers can help strengthen respiratory muscles and are thought to be able to extend life expectancy by 18 months.

MORE: Explaining the progression of ALS

ALS News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

11 comments

  1. Pam Haas says:

    Can anyone with ALS Get this drug or us there a timeline?? Do you know when in Aug this will be available? Do you need to make a appt with your your neurologist to get this prescription?

  2. Frances Ann Shuck says:

    My Mom was diagnosed with bulbar onset ALS almost a year ago. Her symptoms, while severe, remain in the throat area only. Her speech is extremely garbled and very limited. She can no longer chew and so eating only soft foods is possible. Through it all, her spirits, her laughter, her sheer determination to persevere, have remained so strong and so are all an inspiration for the rest of us. We are in Canada!

    Her cousin in New York was diagnosed with ALS almost two years ago.

    Why is it that Radicava may be offered to him, but NOT to my Mom? Her neurologist at the Montreal Neurological Hospital told me that Canada has not yet started clinical trials on the drug.

    HOW can I obtain Radicava for my most precious Mom? We are willing to travel.

    • Carol Mongiello says:

      That’s BS.Radicava trials have been done and thanks to a company I believe in Japan made this drug available. My son just completed day 14 of the Radicava. Everyone worldwide with als should have the option of taking this drug. As I said trials are done. Just as important here in the US is The Right to Try Act. It would allow people with terminal illness the right to try a drug still in clinical trials but has passed the phase where it has been deemed safe. Here is the US it could take years to make a drug available. Let’s give the decision to those affected with terminal illnesses. Frances wishing you, your mom and family the best. Frankie’s Mom.

    • Paula says:

      My husband was diagnosed in August with bulbar onset ALS and his speech is also very garbled and it is getting more difficult to understand him. He is also loosing muscle and has weakness in his hands. Otherwise, he is doing okay. We are waiting for him to start the radicava, hoping it will be soon. Fortunately he has been accepted into the VA and they will be covering it for us. Have you gotten it started yet? I see your post was from August.
      Wondering if it has helped.

  3. Michelle kafafi says:

    Why is it that Radikava is not open to all ALS patients instead of just the most healthy? We all need help. How do you brush your teeth with ALS when you cannot hold a toothbrush? How do others cut their toenails? Why don’t we have helpers for those things we ca no longer do? I cannot afford to hire someone. Where is the help we need? Or should we all overdose? There is not enough being done to help!

    • Craig Reagan says:

      A big protest at FDA headquarters would be a big help, but we need someone to organize it. Short of that, go to Twitter and tweet, tweet, tweet…every day!

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