ALS Information & Discounts
Save on ALS medications with the free discounts below.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), sometimes known as Lou Gehrig Disease, is a chronic, progressive classical motor neuron disease which is inevitably fatal. Sometimes it is genetic, but there are more cases in which the cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is unknown. Currently, there is no known cure or definitive treatment for ALS, but there are ALS medications to address some of the symptoms and make life just a little bit easier for those with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. We offer free coupons and discount cards for many ALS drugs that will help you save as much as 88% on the retail price from your local pharmacy. You can print them or receive them electronically. Print one of your coupons now or get more information about ALS or Lou Gehrig disease below.
Related ALS Drug Discounts
Search our Discount Database for 50,000+ Other Rx Discounts
browse drugs (A-Z):
ALS Information & Discounts
What is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)?
Sometimes referred to as Lou Gehrig Disease, especially in the U.S., ALS is a classical motor neuron disease that is chronic, progressive, and invariably fatal. It normally appears in mid to late life, but it sometimes presents earlier. Roughly five thousand people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS every year, and there are as many as 30 thousand people in the U.S. that have the condition. Only 5% to 10% of these cases are genetic.
Cause, and Lack Thereof
That leaves as many as 95% of cases in which the cause of ALS is unknown. There is no definitive test, no definitive treatment, and no cure. Doctors don’t know the reasons why any one person ends up with ALS, not even in familial cases. In a few familial cases, a mutation of a particular enzyme is associated, but its specific relationship to the disease is unknown.
What is known is that ALS is the gradual degeneration and eventual death of motor neurons found in the spinal cord, brainstem, and brain. These neurons carry the information and controls for movement from the brain to the muscles. As they die, movement becomes more and more problematic, until eventually voluntary movement is impossible. The reason ALS is fatal is that eventually the muscles in the chest and diaphragm stop functioning, leading to respiratory failure. Even when placed on a respirator, most people with ALS will die from this, likely within 5 years. With recent developments in the treatment for ALS, some patients (about 10%) are able to live for 10 years or more.
How can I manage Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)?
While standardized ALS treatments don’t exist, there are ALS drugs and assistive therapies to improve patients’ quality of life. A number of ALS medications serve more than one purpose and can be taken by more than one method. Exercise is important to maintain muscle strength and prevent atrophy for as long as possible. Nutrition is also important, because as the disease progresses, the body’s caloric needs, etc., increase. Eventually, some patients may choose to utilize technology (e.g., braces, wheelchair, respirator) to ease and extend their life. And of course, research for better understanding the disease and finding a cure continues, spearheaded by the NIH and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
What are the different types of medications for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)?
One drug has been approved by the FDA with specific regard to ALS - riluzole (Rilutek, a tablet). It is not a cure, but it can slow the progression and improve the efficacy of other ALS treatments because of it. It also has beneficial effects when patients are on a breathing tube. Read more about Rilutek in the drug information section.
Spasicity (muscle spasms, tremors, seizures)
One medication is devoted specifically to the pain and muscle spasms related to spinal diseases - baclofen - which can be taken orally or can be injected intrathecally. Diazepam treats spasms and seizures that are the result of a number of causes, and can be taken as a pill or a liquid. A drug called trihexyphenidyl can also be taken as a pill or liquid, and was originally created to treat tremors resulting from Parkinson’s Disease.
A tricyclic antidepressant tablet called amitriptyline is used to balance mood by increasing naturally occurring chemicals in the brain that already control mood. Anxiety and agitation can also be treated with diazepam.
What are the symptoms of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)?
Early symptoms can start subtly, enough to be overlooked, such as muscles twitching, cramping, or stiffness. As it progresses, this becomes slurred speech, muscle weakness in an arm or leg, or difficulty chewing. Unfortunately, it only gets worse from there, progressing into muscle atrophy until the person is too weak to move, and eventually too weak to breathe.
ALS Drug Information
Riluzole, the generic of the brand name Rilutek, is a treatment for ALS that is administered orally as a tablet, taken twice daily on an empty stomach at 12 hours apart and at the same times every day. It’s the only medication approved by the FDA to slow the progression of ALS, although only by a few months, however it has been shown to definitively delay the need for a breathing tube. Never stop taking riluzole without your doctor’s direction, no matter how well you feel. Cigarettes can inhibit the efficacy of riluzole, and you should not have a lot of anything with caffeine such as tea, cola, or chocolate. You should also avoid charbroiled foods. Side effects include: tiredness, dizziness, nausea, upset stomach, loss of appetite. It may also affect your ability to fight infection.
A generic of Kemstro and Lioresal, baclofen is prescribed for relieving pain, improving muscle movement, and decreasing muscle spasms in severity and number. It can be taken orally as a tablet 3 times daily at evenly spaced intervals, or can be injected intrathecally (around the spinal cord) using a drug pump, usually by a medical professional but sometimes at home. If administering the injection at home, follow your instructions specifically and be sure to check the specific warnings and cautions regarding this process. Do not take more or less than prescribed, and if you miss a dose, do not take a double dose. It will take time to build up in your system enough to feel its effects. You should never stop taking baclofen “cold turkey,” and shouldn’t step your doses down unless directed to do so by your doctor. Side effects may include: drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, upset stomach.
Please note: diazepam can be habit forming, and you can potentially develop tolerance with long term use. You should never increase your dosage or take it more often or for longer than prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, never double your dose. Diazepam can be taken orally as a tablet or a liquid concentrate which may be prescribed for up to 4 times daily. It’s also available as an extended release capsule taken orally. A generic of Valium and Valrelease, diazepam serves a number of purposes. It can relieve anxiety and agitation, diminish muscle spasms and seizures, and treat panic attacks and irritable bowel syndrome. Be careful with when you take antacids, and do not smoke while taking diazepam as it can inhibit its effectiveness. Some serious side effects are associated with diazepam, and if you experience any of the following, contact your doctor immediately: yellowing of skin or eyes, irregular heartbeat, rash, fever, shuffling walk, seizure, a continuous fine trembling or seizure.