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Multiple System Atrophy Treatments

Treatment for Parkinson Symptoms

Drugs used for Parkinson’s disease may provide relief of muscle rigidity, slowness, and other motor symptoms for some MSA patients, though only in the earlier stages and with less effectiveness than for Parkinson’s patients. Parkinson’s drugs also can lower blood pressure and may worsen NOH symptoms, dizziness, and fainting episodes.


Treatments for Autonomic Symptoms

To manage autonomic symptoms, patients may consider options such as increasing salt intake or taking steroid hormones or other drugs that raise blood pressure. Sleep apnea devices known as CPAP (continuous, positive airway pressure) machines can help with breathing difficulties.


Non-drug Therapies

Physical, speech, and occupational therapies offer drug-free tools for keeping muscles strong and flexible, helping prevent falls and other incidents that hasten disability. Encouraging mobility also lowers the risk of pulmonary embolism, a blood clot of an artery to the lungs, which can be fatal.

Many MSA patients succumb to secondary conditions of the disease, including pneumonia from aspirating food or saliva into the bronchial tubes. Apnea and problems with regulating blood pressure can also contribute to death. As such, these therapies are valuable as a way to closely monitor functions such as blood pressure and swallowing. Urinary tract infections due to disorders of the bladder can progress to overwhelming sepsis and lead to death.

For all references listed in the About MSA section please download the MSA Coalition's "MSA - What You Need to Know"

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