Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is an unfortunate condition that causes the death of neurons which control voluntary muscles. ALS patients decline over time and at varying rates, but all have similar constellation of symptoms, including stiff muscles, twitching, weakness, and a decrease in muscle mass. All of this contributes to difficulties in speaking, swallowing, and eventually even breathing. Once diagnosed, the prognosis is poor; most patients have a life expectancy of 3-5 years.
For patients and families living with ALS, this can be a harrowing experience, amplified by the relative lack of available medical help. There are no “cures”, and there has not been a new drug introduced in the marketplace for ALS patients in the past 20 years. However, in August of this year the FDA approved Radicava (MTPA Pharmaceuticals) for the treatment of ALS, and it has shown to be effective in slowing the rate of disease progression by about 33%. This is a meaningful change in the quality of life for ALS patients and their families.
Radicava is administered via infusion. The first cycle consists of 14 consecutive days followed by 14 days off. All cycles thereafter consist of 10 infusions over a 14 day period, followed by 14 days of rest.
Radicava’s distribution is limited to a network of approved facilities, and Infusion Solutions has been approved as a site of care for Radicava patients. Currently, all of our Radicava patients are coming into our infusion center in Bellingham to receive their therapy. We are working with the manufacturer to determine if these infusions can eventually be transferred to the home settings, and if so, perhaps patients and caregivers can be trained to administer them. We will receive formal training in November regarding these questions–stay tuned.
If you or anyone you know would like more information about Radicava or Infusion Solutions, please call our office at 360-933-4892. Our expert staff can help get you going in the right direction