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How is ALS Treated?

Currently, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, has no cure. The FDA-approved drug Rilutek has been shown to modestly extend survival.

Patients suffering from the disease can maximize their abilities and be made more comfortable with a variety of treatment or therapeutic options:

  • Medications to relieve painful muscle cramps, excess salivation, and other symptoms

  • Heat or whirlpool therapy to relieve muscle cramping

  • Moderate exercise to help maintain muscle strength and function

  • Physical therapy to maintain mobility and ease the discomfort of muscle stiffness, cramps, and fluid retention

  • Nutritional counseling to promote dietary balance and help maintain adequate body weight, and to offer diet-based help when swallowing becomes difficult

  • Speech therapy to extend verbal communication ability and communication training to offer non-verbal techniques

  • Devices such as splints, corrective braces, grab bars, reach-extenders to help with daily activities such as dressing, eating, using the toilet, and bathing

  • Special equipment such as wheelchairs, electric beds or mattresses to maximize functional independence

If you’re looking to confirm an ALS diagnosis, learn more about ALS clinical trials or seek medical care for the disease, contact the Johns Hopkins Multidisciplinary ALS Clinic. ALS scientists at the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins are working aggressively through targeted research projects to uncover new ALS treatments and to find a cure.

Our Experts

Johns Hopkins University
Neurologist Charlotte Sumner has a long history of studying neuromuscular disorders. In particular, she has focused her attention on caring for patients with inherited motor neuron and peripheral nerve disorders such as spinal muscular atrophy and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Her work on the molecular pathogenesis of spinal muscular atrophy and the development of therapeutics may provide important clues for those with ALS.