The approval of Exservan in the U.S. was based on data from two clinical trials of Rilutek, the tablet formulation of riluzole. In these trials, one year of riluzole treatment significantly extended the time patients lived without needing a breathing tube in the neck as compared with a placebo. Still, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis manifests differently in each person, and patients should ask their care team how and when the medication is expected to help in their unique case.
Because Exservan and alcohol can both cause liver damage, drinking alcohol while taking the medication may increase the risk of this potentially life-threatening side effect. It is recommended that patients talk with their healthcare providers to understand the risks of alcohol consumption in their particular case.
Based on clinical trial data, the active ingredient in Exservan can significantly extend survival and/or delay the need for a tracheostomy, or a breathing tube in the neck, in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients. However, the medication cannot cure the disease. Patients will continue to experience disease progression and accumulating disability even with treatment.