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King Rat
Private Life
Lithium and A.L.S.
There's been a potential breakthrough in A.L.S. treatment. In Italy, doctors gave a number of A.L.S. patients lithium. The results were dramatic. 30% of the control group died within the study period. None of the lithium patients did. They weren't cured, or even arrested. But they did slow down the progression quite a bit.

A second U.S. based study is under way.

Since lithium is already approved and on the market for other reasons, it's available to anyone who can wrangle a prescription from their doctor. So lots of A.L.S. patients are doing so, despite any standardized dosing for A.L.S. Many of these people are participating in an unofficial study.

Mom considered going on lithium because she wants to survive long enough to hold my niece/nephew who is due in September. She's decided against it though because she thinks she'll last long enough anyway, and doesn't want to prolong her life. She's pretty far along and isn't to thrilled with the thought of prolonging her life in her current level of A.L.S.

I'd probably go on the lithium if it were me. But then, I'd also have made a point to move to Oregon to take advantage of their assisted suicide law as well.

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4 comments or Leave a comment
From: psychik Date: March 27th, 2008 08:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd recommend the lithium too- it has few side effects, doesn't impair thinking like other psychotropic drugs, and has the added bonus of stabalizing mood. (I've been on lithium for almost 15 years). It is hard on the liver, so regular blood tests are needed to check for toxicity.
I've never heard of this study- I will have to look into it more.

gkr From: gkr Date: March 27th, 2008 08:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
There's a good page with information and a link to the published version of the study here: http://alslithium.atspace.com/
mrsloane From: mrsloane Date: March 27th, 2008 08:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd totally go on the lithium.
From: gargoylettelc Date: March 27th, 2008 10:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it depends on what point you start the lithium, I suspect. If you start at teh beginning, great, you slow progress. But if you are pretty far along and not happy where you are at.... Again, her call. I had a very religious patient who wanted to do whatever it took to prolong life, not afraid of a ventilator, tubes, etc, as long as her mind was present. Well when the disease progressed, and spoke with a lawyer who also had the disease, she changed her mind rapidly. It is not always a comfortable disease. But, she did it her way, and died with dignity in her home with her many children and grandchildren around her, just as she wanted. There is a lot to be said for that. Hang in there!
4 comments or Leave a comment