About ALS

What is ALS?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease – is a rare disease that affects nerve cells that are responsible for controlling muscle movement. It is a progressive condition, meaning that people living with ALS experience a continuing decline in muscle strength. At this point, there is no cure for ALS.

There are two types of ALS:

  • Limb onset: symptoms begin in the arms and legs
  • Bulbar onset: symptoms are first noticed in speech or swallowing

Who gets ALS?

Although ALS is not very common, you should know that you’re not alone. There are about 20,000 people living with ALS in the United States today. Every year, about 6,000 more people are diagnosed with ALS in the US alone. Men tend to get diagnosed with ALS slightly more often than women. But as people age, the gap in diagnoses between men and women becomes smaller.

Most of the time, there is no known cause for ALS. However, in some cases, there is a genetic connection.

Military connection to ALS: People who have served in the military are up to 2 times more likely to develop ALS.

What challenges do people living with ALS face?

Most of the symptoms of ALS are related to muscles becoming weaker or stiffer. This can pose issues in everyday activities. These issues can include:

  • Muscle twitches or spasm
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Slurred speech

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Swallowing problems with ALS

Problems chewing, swallowing, and drinking are also known as dysphagia (pronounced “dis-FAY-ja”).

Swallowing problems can cause a range of issues:

  • Difficulty eating dry or crumbly foods

  • Difficulty taking some types of medicine

  • Aspiration, which is when foods or liquids go down the wrong tube and into the lungs

Swallowing problems with ALS are common:

About 33% of people living with ALS have swallowing problems at the onset of disease

More than 80% experience swallowing problems at some point

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TIGLUTIK (riluzole) is a prescription medicine for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Important Safety Information

  • You should not take TIGLUTIK if you are allergic to any of its ingredients.
  • TIGLUTIK can cause liver injury, including death. Your doctor should do blood tests to check your liver function before and during your treatment and may stop treatment with TIGLUTIK if liver function is not normal. Contact your doctor immediately if you have unexplained nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, anorexia, or jaundice and/or dark urine.
  • Call your doctor immediately if you have a fever, cough, or difficulty in breathing while taking TIGLUTIK.
  • If you miss or skip a dose of TIGLUTIK, do not take any extra dose to make up for those you missed, but take your prescribed dose at the next regularly scheduled time.
  • The most common side effects of TIGLUTIK that occurred during medical studies were numbness/tingling around the mouth, weakness, nausea, decreased lung function, high blood pressure, and abdominal pain. If any side effects become troublesome, contact your doctor.
  • Be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all other health conditions you have and all medicines you are taking, including nonprescription products and vitamins. If you have questions, please talk to your doctor.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-332-1088.

Please click here for the Full Prescribing Information.