There is no known cure at this time and little in the way of treatment that will have an effect on the disease itself.
The only drug approved for people with ALS is Rilutek (riluzole), which slows the progression of the disease. Researchers don’t fully understand how Rilutek works, but think it may protect nerve cells from overexposure to glutamate, a naturally occurring substance that carries signals to the motor neurons.
Too much glutamate may cause motor neuron dysfunction and death, preventing the neurons from relaying the brain’s messages to the muscles. Rilutek has been found to extend the life of some people with ALS by a few months.
Researchers are looking to find not only the cause of the disease so that a cure can be developed, but also other medications or treatments that can help until a cure is found.
With improved knowledge about ALS, healthcare providers and families can help people living with ALS live life more fully.
The services offered by ALS Ontario help improve the quality of life for those who live with ALS and their families.