Nuedexta has plausible mechanisms for improving bulbar function in PALS. Some PALS reported concomitant improvement in bulbar function for at least a short period when taking Nuedexta for PBA. A well-designed phase II trial in PALS demonstrated the efficacy of Nuedexta in patient-reported bulbar function, and the preliminary result of another trial showed improvement in bulbar physiology. However, its long-term effect on bulbar function is unclear, and one open-label study showed a lack of benefit in one year. There is no evidence suggesting Nuedexta slows down progression or prolongs survival. Nuedextacauses mild to moderate side effects, but severe side effects directly caused by Nuedexta have not been reported. It should be avoided in patients with a known history of prolonged QT interval. Given all this, we feel there is sufficient evidence to consider Nuedexta treatment for bulbar dysfunction in ALS patients with and without PBA. Financial burden and periodic assessment of its efficacy should be considered for the latter.
Tamoxifen is reasonably safe, has plausible mechanisms for treating ALS, and has at least one positive preclinical study. One case report and 2 small human trials suggested an association between tamoxifen (at higher doses) and slower ALS progression but this is not enough evidence to recommend this medication as an ALS treatment. Moving forward, we would like to see a larger human ALS clinical trial of tamoxifen at 80mg daily. Interestingly, one study suggests that tamoxifen may decrease a person’s risk for getting ALS. We hope to see this independently replicated.
Antiretrovirals are a group of diverse drugs developed for HIV infections that vary widely in theoretical efficacy against HERVs, side effect profiles, and cost. HERV expression is apparently increased in some PALS; however, it is unknown if this is a
beneficial, neutral, or pathological process. Furthermore, it is not clear if ARV-targeted mechanisms such as cell infection and viral replication are taking place in PALS. Based on the lack of evidence for use of ARVs in PALS who test negative for HIV and HTLV, we cannot recommend them as a treatment for ALS. We look forward to the results of the two ongoing trials of ARVs in PALS.
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