New ALS Best Practice Recommendations Released

New best practice recommendations for managing and treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) have been published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. It is the first guideline for ALS to be released in Canada.

Among the new recommendations are:

  • Deliver the patient’s diagnosis of ALS in a way that suits their individual needs and wishes. For example, if the diagnosis is overwhelming to the patient, consider communicating information in a stepwise manner instead of all in one sitting.
  • The drugs riluzole and edaravone are approved for the treatment of ALS.
  • Care for patients with ALS should include a multidisciplinary care team, along with the patient’s primary care provider.
  • At this time, prophylaxis for venous thromboembolism among patients with ALS is not recommended due to lack of studies.
  • Medications that a patient is taking should be reviewed regularly. The guidelines recommend that nonessential medications be discontinued, especially if they do not relieve symptoms or provide therapeutic benefit with regard to each patient’s survival.
  • Personalized exercise regimens, including aerobic and strength training, are suggested for patients who are able to participate in exercise.

To read the full guideline, click here.

—Christina Vogt

Shoesmith C, Abrahao A, Benstead T, et al. Canadian best practice recommendations for the management of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Can Assoc Med J. 2020;192(46):E1453-E1468. doi:10.1503/cmaj.191721