No cure has yet been found for ALS. Riluzole was the first drug approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1995 to treat ALS/MND. It may prolong life by 2-3 months but rarely does it relieve symptoms. The second drug, called Nuedexta, was approved in 2010 and helps to relieve pseudobulbar affect, a condition that causes uncontrollable and/or inappropriate laughter and crying. However, ALS Worldwide, and many others, are currently working with some of the world’s leading neuroscientists to develop the first truly curative pharmaceutical or other treatment.
While there is not a cure today, there are many treatments that are designed to relieve symptoms, improve the quality of life and extend the lives of those with ALS. Drugs, supplements and other treatments are available to help ALS patients gain strength, energy and weight; reduce muscle twitching (fasciculations), pain, numbness and fatigue; minimize speech and swallowing difficulty; and reduce panic attacks, depression, and uncontrollable or exaggerated emotions.
Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and rehabilitation may help to prevent joint immobility and slow muscle weakness and atrophy. Individuals with ALS may eventually consider forms of mechanical ventilation (respirators) or the NeuRx Diaphragm Pacing System developed by Dr. Raymond Onders of University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. The DPS uses implanted electrodes and an external battery pack to cause the diaphragm (breathing muscles) to contract and expand. This device, a leading 21st century invention, has been approved by US FDA to help many individuals with ALS or spinal cord injury.
ALS Worldwide can explain treatment options and provide guidance on a wide variety of important topics. We provide free personalized and confidential support to patients, families and other loved ones to help you make informed decisions, minimize symptoms, and improve quality of life. Visit alsworldwide.org/get-help.