There are theoretical mechanisms supporting the potential role of astaxanthin in the treatment of ALS, however, there are no ALS-specific pre-clinical data exploring this treatment. One verified“ALS reversal” occurred while taking astaxanthin in the setting of a cocktail of various other therapies—an association that does not prove causality. There have been no clinical trials of astaxanthin in PALS. Natural astaxanthin appears to be generally safe and inexpensive. We believe there is a need for further pre-clinical and/or clinical trials of natural astaxanthin in disease models and PALS, respectively, to further elucidate efficacy.
Ozone therapy has possible mechanisms for treating ALS. A preclinical study in very small numbers of mTDP43 mice (which has yet to be peerreviewed) suggested benefits on motor function and survival (21,22); however, these benefits were not seen in mSOD1 mice (20). One verified “ALS reversal” occurred on a cocktail of alternative therapies including ozone (24); an association such as this does not prove causality. There have been no trials of ozone therapy in PALS. There may be potentially serious side effects associated with ozone therapy, depending on the dose (31). Based on all this, we support further investigation of ozone therapy in ALS cell or animal models, but we cannot yet recommend it as an ALS treatment.
ALSUntangled reviews alternative and off-label treatments on behalf of people with ALS who ask about them. Here we review rituximab, a drug which specifically depletes B lymphocytes. We show a current lack of evidence for a role of these cells in ALS progression. The one patient we found who described using Rituximab for their ALS found no benefit. Given all this, and the known serious risks of rituximab, we advise against its use as an ALS treatment.
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There is a theorized association between MAP and ALS, and two published case reports described improvements in ALS-like conditions (both with atypical features) after treatment with antimycobacterial antibiotics. Based on these, we believe it would be reasonable to perform chest imaging in PALS who have features of their history or exam that are atypical for ALS such as pain, fevers, or eye movement abnormalities. If the chest imaging is abnormal, more specific testing for mycobacteria may be indicated. Until there is more clear evidence of an association between MAP and ALS, we cannot endorse the widespread use of potentially toxic antimycobacterial antibiotics for PALS.
Butyrates have plausible mechanisms for slowing ALS progression and positive pre-clinical studies. One trial suggests that sodium phenylbutyrate (NaPB) in combination with Tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) can slow ALS progression and prolong survival, but the specific contribution of NaPB toward this effect is unclear. Butyrates appear reasonably safe for use in humans. Based on the above information, we support a trial of a butyrate in PALS, but we cannot yet recommend one as a treatment.
Ketogenic diets have plausible mechanisms for treating ALS. One flawed preclinical study and two PatientsLikeMe participants reported benefits; these were not independently verified. Two other PatientsLikeMe participants and one patient under
the care of an ALSUntangled investigator did not show benefits. A trial of a ketogenic diet was only able to enroll a single patient and their experience cannot be interpreted due to the lack of any control group. We hope to see another trial of a ketogenic diet in people with ALS. Until then, given the frequent side effects, we do not advise such diets for the treatment of ALS
Melatonin has plausible mechanisms, some positive (and some negative) pre-clinical data, and two case reports in which it was part of a cocktail of treatments associated with recovery of lost motor function. As we have stated previously, there are
multiple possible explanations for cases like these. There was also a very small, flawed retrospective study suggesting that PALS taking it progressed more slowly and lived longer than PALS were not taking it. Melatonin appears safe at high doses, but evidence is lacking for a proven benefit in slowing disease progression in ALS. Furthermore, an optimal dose and route of administration have not been established. Based on this data, a pilot trial of melatonin in PALS would be reasonable, but we cannot yet recommend it as an ALS treatment.
Light therapy has not yet been convincingly shown to help people with ALS. However, at specific wavelengths and energy densities, LT appears safe and has theoretically plausible mechanisms. There is a single case report suggesting benefits for light therapy in ALS, but it contains in sufficient detail to independently confirm diagnosis or treatment benefit. Further studies are needed to determine whether LT is useful for people with ALS, and via what specific protocols.