Using the Combo

September 21, 2020

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Anchor lead: Should people with ALS ask about a new drug combination? Elizabeth Tracey reports

When a disease is always fatal, the bar for attempting new therapies is lower than that for more chronic conditions, and such is the case for ALS. A new trial has shown that the rate of decline in people with ALS using a two drug combination can be slowed. Jeffrey Rothstein, an ALS expert at Johns Hopkins, is all in.

Rothstein: There’s no question I would put patients on this drug. Absolutely. There is nothing negative I saw in terms of the side effect profile. There’s no reason not to. What gets complicated is one, they should be on this drug but they should be on previous drugs because for example riluzole, which is the first drug we studied back in 95, that drug has been repeatedly shown to be positive. Tiny effect. Way back then we did survival not this functional rating scale, so if patients say should I take this instead of riluzole the answer should be no, take both of them. Just like in cancer begin to combine these drugs.  :30

Rothstein says for now, the company is continuing to provide the drug combination to people who participated in the trial, and additional studies are ongoing. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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