Although there is not cure yet for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), there is a drug pipeline with experimental therapies that represents the ongoing search for treatments that increase SMN levels, enhance residual SMN function, and compensate for its loss.

There is great hope in the SMA community that ongoing studies will soon have enough curative data to submit approval applications to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Existing treatments consist of managing the symptoms and preventing complications.

Physical and occupational therapy and rehabilitation may help to improve posture, prevent joint immobility, and slow muscle weakness and atrophy in some cases of SMA. Stretching and strengthening exercises may help reduce spasticity, increase range of motion, and keep circulation flowing. Some people with SMA may require additional therapy for speech, chewing, and swallowing difficulties.

Devices such as supports or braces, orthotics, speech synthesizers, and wheelchairs may help some people maintain their independence.

Also, a proper and balanced diet is essential for weight and strength maintenance. Some people with SMA may require feeding tubes; others may require assisted ventilation due to muscle weakness in the neck, throat, and chest.

Muscle relaxants may help reduce spasticity, such as baclofen, Zanaflex (tizanidine), and benzodiazepines. Botox (botulinum toxin) may be used to treat jaw spasms and drooling. Excessive saliva can be treated with Elavil (amitriptyline), (Robinul) glycopyrrolate, and (Atropen) atropine or even Botox injections into the salivary glands. Antidepressants may help in the treatment of depression.

Follow the latest developments for all experimental spinal muscular atrophy treatments on the SMA Therapy Tracker.

SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.