There are currently no effective pharmacological therapies able to significantly stop or slow down the progression of the disease: to date the are only two drugs indicated for ALS, riluzole (Riluteck, Sanofi-Aventis) and edaravone (Radicut®, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma), that can slow the disease course of few months. Riluzole acts by suppressing excessive motor neuron firing and edaravone by suppressing oxidative stress.
Numerous other compounds have been investigated without showing efficacy.
The complexity of managing a person with ALS requires the presence of a multidisciplinary team of professionals, who have the task not only of taking care of diagnostic and clinical assistance in all phases of the disease, but also of taking charge of the family system and caregivers.
To this end, different and integrated skills and functions are necessary: from the general practitioner, to the neurologist, neurophysiologist, physiatrist, pulmonologist, resuscitator, gastroenterologist, psychologist, dietician, orthophonist, physiotherapist, physiotherapist expert in aids, particularly trained nurses, social worker.
Currently, the mainstay of patients care is timely intervention to manage symptoms. However, thanks to the support of technological aids, the increased awareness of patients’ needs and the rise of specialized clinical centers the quality of life of patients is much improved over the years.
For more information about ALS care and assistance please visit the patients Italian Association – AISLA www.aisla.it (in Italian). The association aims to offer concrete support to patients and families, through a widespread presence throughout the Country, in synergy with national and international organizations and with health institutions.