Outcome of sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis treated with non-invasive ventilation and riluzole

Medicina (B Aires). 2007;67(4):326-30.


Sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (sALS) is a progressive degenerative motor neuron disorder lacking specific treatment. Riluzole is the only drug able to modestly slow down the course of the disease. Respiratory insufficiency is the main cause of death; non invasive ventilation (NIV) has shown to improve survival. Our aim was to evaluate the effect of NIV and riluzole on survival. Ninety seven patients with a diagnosis of sALS were assessed and followed up for 60 months. Twenty nine patients received NIV and 68 did not (nNIV). Overall median survival In the NIV group was 15.41 +/- 7.78 months vs. 10.88 +/- 7.78 months in the nNIV group (p= 0.028). Median survival time was not different in patients receiving riluzole (n=44), as compared with those who did not (n=53), although at month 4th and 5th riluzole treated patients showed a modest benefit. In those who only received NIV (n=11) or only riluzole (n=26), survival time was 13.45 +/- 13.44 months and 11.19 +/- 7.79 months, respectively. Patients who received both NIV and riluzole (n=18) had a median survival time of 16.61 +/- 10.97 months vs. 10.69 +/- 7.86 months for those who received only supportive treatment (n=42) (p= 0.021). NIV improved survival in our series of patients. Riluzole did not show any significant impact on survival when employed as the only therapy. Patients receiving both treatments simultaneously had a significant longer survival.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / mortality
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / therapy*
  • Argentina / epidemiology
  • Combined Modality Therapy / methods
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration*
  • Riluzole / therapeutic use*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Riluzole