New ALS Treatment Guidelines Released Today

October 13, 2009

Lead guidelines author Robert G. Miller, MD, of the department of neurology at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and fellow of the AAN, said that although a cure has yet to be discovered, there are still methods “to make life easier and longer for people with ALS.”

New treatment guidelines for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) were published in the latest issue of Neurology (October 13). Lead guidelines author Robert G. Miller, MD, of the department of neurology at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and fellow of the AAN, said that although a cure has yet to be discovered, there are still methods “to make life easier and longer for people with ALS.”

The new guidelines stated the following:

  • Riluzole, the only FDA approved ALS treatment, should be offered to patients in order to decrease disease progression.
  • Using an assisted-breathing device will likely increase life expectancy and quality of life.
  • Using a feeding tube (PEG tube) will likely increase life expectancy.
  • Doctors should offer patients botulinum toxin B to treat drooling.
  • Doctors should conduct behavioral or thinking problems because studies have shown ALS patients have difficulty with them.

“It’s important that people with ALS know that more treatments are now available to ease the burden of the disease and that they should see neurologists who are aware of these new guidelines and follow them,” said Miller.