There is no known cure for ALS. The first drug treatment for the disease is a medicine called riluzole. Riluzole may prolong life, but does not reverse or stop the disease from getting worse.
The goal of treatment is to control symptoms. Baclofen or diazepam may be used to control spasticity that interferes with activities of daily living. Trihexyphenidyl or amitriptyline may be prescribed for people with problems swallowing their own saliva.
Physical therapy, rehabilitation, use of braces or a wheelchair, or other orthopedic measures may be needed to maximize muscle function and general health.
Choking is common. Patients may decide to have a tube placed into their stomach for feeding. This is called a gastrostomy.
A nutritionist is very important to help prevent weight loss. The illness itself appears to increase the need for food and there is usually limited ability to swallow.
The use of devices to assist in breathing includes machines that are only used at night as well as constant mechanical ventilation. Patients should discuss their wishes regarding artificial ventilation with their families and doctors.