What is the treatment of Machado Joseph Disease?

By  ,  National Institute of Health
Jan 06, 2013

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MJD is incurable, but some symptoms of the disease can be treated. 


Levodopa therapy (used in treating individuals with Parkinson’s disease) can ease parkinsonian features (stiffness and slowness of movments, often accompanied by a tremor) for many years.  Antispasmodic drugs, such as baclofen, can help reduce spasticity. 


Botulinum toxin can treat severe spasticity and some symptoms of dystonia, but it should be used as a last resort due to possible side effects, such as swallowing problems (dysphagia).  Speech problems (dysarthria) and dysphagia can be treated with medication and speech therapy.  Wearing prism glasses can reduce blurred or double vision, but eye surgery has only short-term benefits due to the progressive degeneration of eye muscles. 


Physiotherapy can help individuals cope with disability associated with gait problems, and physical aids, such as walkers and wheelchairs, can assist people with everyday activities.  Daytime sleepiness, a common complaint in MJD (as is sleep disturbance in general), can be treated with modafanil and should prompt a formal sleep evaluation.  Other problems, such as cramps and urinary dysfunction, can be treated with medications and medical care.



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