Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Treatment and Care

Managing an ALS diagnosis can feel overwhelming. The team at Banner Health is ready to help every step of the way. Learn more about treatment options and care for ALS.

How Is ALS treated?

While ALS cannot be cured, there are options to help slow down the progression of the disease and make you more comfortable. Medication and therapies play a huge role when it comes to reducing pain and slowing the disease. 

Medication: Your doctor may prescribe medication to treat ALS symptoms. There are two FDA approved medications that can help with ALS: riluzole and edaravone. Riluzole may prolong life expectancy by a few months, while edaravone may slow the progression of ALS, mainly slowing progression that affects everyday tasks. 

Therapy: Speech therapy may help with slurred speech brought on by ALS and physical therapy may help strengthen muscles that have not been affected by ALS.  

Breathing/Respiratory support: As ALS progresses, the muscles that help us breathe begin to weaken. Consider respiratory support such as a ventilator, but understand this does not stop the progression of the disease.

While ALS can be painful, there are a few ways to manage the pain. Discuss your options with your doctor to determine what will work best for you.

What Are the Side Effects of ALS Treatment?

While most of the treatments are aimed at helping slow the progression of ALS, there are a few side effects to be aware of. The medication, riluzole, may cause dizziness, weakness, stomach pain or nausea, diarrhea or numbness. Edaravone side effects include headache, respiratory issues, eczema, bruising and more. Talk to your doctor about the side effects of these medications to weigh your options.

Learn About ALS in Depth

It’s important to understand your diagnosis and treatment options for ALS. Learn about all your options to make an informed decision and discuss any concerns with your doctor.

The team at Banner Health is here to help. Trust the experts to answer any questions during you or your loved one’s ALS journey.