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What are some treatment plans available for ALS patients?

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Quick Answer

Nothing can stop or slow the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, but symptoms can be controlled with drugs and devices, states WebMD. An electromyogram is one of the tests used to diagnose ALS, also called Lou Gehrig's disease.

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Full Answer

Rilutek seems to slow damage caused by glutamate overexciting nerve cells. Studies confirm this drug helps make ALS victims more functional and better able to survive. However, a doctor needs to closely monitor the patient as this drug may affect the liver, explains WebMD.

In the early stages of ALS, physical therapy is employed to improve blood flow and extend useful muscle life. Different medications are used as the disease advances. Baclofen helps loosen stiffness in the throat and limbs. Branched-chain amino acids are used to slow muscle atrophy and weight loss. Phenytoin treats cramps. Antidepressants treat depression, and tricyclic antidepressants are prescribed to control excessive saliva production, according to WebMD.

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