Guidelines Identify Best Treatments to Help ALS Patients Live Longer, Easier

March 22, 2011

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Guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology identify the most effective treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease). The guidelines, published in the October 13, 2009, issue of Neurology®, recommend that the drug riluzole be offered to people with ALS to slow the rate at which the disease progresses. Doctors also should consider offering their patients botulinum toxin B to treat sialorrhea, or drooling, if oral medications do not help. The guidelines state that life expectancy will likely increase and quality of life may increase for people with ALS who use an assisted-breathing device. Longer life expectancy is also likely for people with ALS who use a feeding tube known as a PEG tube, since nutrition plays a critical role in prolonging survival. Moreover, doctors should consider screening their patients for behavioral or thinking problems because studies show many people with ALS have these problems.

Access the guidelines and related summary tools.