Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) (cont.)
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Riluzole (Rilutek) helps slow motor neuron damage and delay muscle paralysis and loss of function. A patient taking this drug will require regular blood tests during the first several months of treatment to detect possible liver damage, a possible decreased neutrophil (a type of white blood cells) count, and other harmful effects. To allow riluzole to be properly absorbed from the stomach, the patient should take the drug on an empty stomach (1 hour before or 2 hours after meals). Common side effects when starting the drug include nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and drowsiness.
Fernando Dangond, MD
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