Teaneck Neurologist Dr. Charles Asta Offers New ALS Treatment

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Asta says this new medication approved by the FDA is "Life-Sustaining" for ALS patients

A 22-year period of stagnation in the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as ALS or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” came to an end last May with the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Radicava (edaravone), a medication giving hope to the ALS community.

Administered by intravenous infusion, Radicava slows the decline in the loss of physical function in people with ALS, a disease for which there is no cure.

“It provides individuals a chance to maintain motor function for as long as possible,” said Dr. Charles Asta, a Teaneck-based neurologist who operates his private practice under the umbrella of Sovereign Health System. He hopes to give patients a little bit more time with family and friends before he has to address symptoms.

ALS is a disease of the nervous system resulting in gradual loss of motor neurons — nerve cells that control muscle cells. As motor neurons are lost, the muscles they control become weak and non-functional. “We don’t know the exact underlying cause,” Asta said. “That will be the next Nobel Prize.”

The FDA approved the first drug to treat ALS, called riluzole, in 1995, however, it only slowed the disease’s progression by only a month or so, Asta said. Radicava slows the decline of physical ability by one-third of the previous rate, because it helps to control excessive oxidative stress in the body.

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Marissa Leonessa

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